Today Hell is Suddenly All the Rage – Have You Heard the News? Today Americans Believe in Hell!

Have you noticed how many Americans suddenly believe in hell this morning?
Only last week, Rob Bell’s book, Love Wins, was all the rage. Believing that “We all get to heaven in the end” was de rigueur. Surely, since God is love, He would never send anyone to hell. Isn’t that what we thought yesterday?

But, that was yesterday, wasn’t it?

Today Osama Bin Laden is dead so hell is once again in fashion.

But, perhaps it is a small place.

Perhaps we believe today that hell is reserved for a special few. Certainly, we can name them because we are so wise. Hitler, Stalin, Pot Pot, Hussein, Ted Bundy, Jezebel – are these the residents of this unpopular address this past week now increased by one newcomer? Surely that is one unpleasant Welcome Wagon!

Or, perhaps there are others. Perhaps these are the most infamous; the most deserving of eternal fires but there are likely others and we believe the measure rises from their ashes. The further you are from being like these of Hell’s Most Wanted, the more likely you are to merit entrance to Heaven. Is that how it works?

But what of those in those middle ranks. Where is the cut off? Who decides about that mystical line that separates those whose deeds merit hell and those who have squeaked by with a D that grades them among the citizens of heaven? Is there a Dean of Admissions? A parole board? A jury? A single judge?

Careful now, that borders on traditional religious thinking. We wouldn’t want to go there.

Hell is a handy notion, is it not, when we have a need to deposit evil there and be done with it? And evil on the level of Osama Bin Laden makes us comfortable with our own dalliances with bad behavior – I mean, he makes us look like amateurs, right? If God grades on a curve, we count ourselves fortunate not to be even on a par with men like this!

But is that how it works?

I just wonder about tomorrow. When the confetti has been swept off Times Square and the media has run out of angles, will we pack hell away until the next dictator falls? Put it in a special box with moth balls until it suits our national needs once more?

I think one word that speaks the greatest wisdom on this actually comes today from one of Osama’s supporters. An article on Osama’s supporters quoted someone who posted to a website mourning Osama today as saying, “Another lion will take Osama’s place,” wrote one poster, reassuring his comrades. “We are all Osama.”
Aaahh, in the death of Osama, evil has not been destroyed. Another Osama will rise as if behind all the Osamas and Hitlers and Pol Pots there was a force that continues once one puppet is beheaded. Like a mythical hydra that is invisible except for its heads.
And if there is a force behind them, surely this force operates on levels both great and small. Evil, true evil, loves a grand stage but will open at any venue, truly, even a place as small as the room where you are. Evil is blind to the importance of its prey in human terms. It will feed on humans of note but just as easily, will it devour bit players on the human stage.
We are all at risk.
The apostle Peter cautioned: “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” I Peter 5:8
Which is why we need to understand God’s perspective on evil. The prophet Ezekiel wrote these words in 33:11, Say to them, ‘As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live. Turn! Turn from your evil ways!”

He takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked. We should let this truth inform our response to recent events.We should also ask ourselves some hard questions.
Do we want there to be a hell or not? Do we think we are capable of deciding who goes there? What if what we want has no effect on the existence of hell? What if it just is whether we like it or not? Shouldn’t we who believe in insurance, estate planning and living wills spend at least the same amount of time researching life on the other side? Shouldn’t we know more about it than what we can learn from someone’s Facebook status or political Tweet?
Here is what I believe. Since the year my daughter was born, terrorism has been the battle of the day. I believe it is a message to this generation that evil comes in many forms and on many fronts. It is not a call for them to fear but for them to be sure they choose the winning side.
The battle belongs to the Lord, loved ones. Jesus Christ holds the keys to both heaven and to hell. They exist and He decides. Spend as much time in His word as you do on Facebook and you will come to this conclusion yourself.
So, to my friends who have pulled hell out of its moth balls and celebrate its existence today, I send this plea – research the truth of this place you believe exists for Osama Bin Laden and be sure you know the Only One who holds the keys eternal futures.
The Battle Belongs to the Lord. 
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1 Comment

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  1. WhiteStone says:

    A thoughtful post.