Maybe you didn’t catch it. The premise is that hell is real, because there is a type of “hell” on this earth. There is disease, there is suffering, there is alienation and pain of various types, and all of that is a type of “hell” if you will. It is distasteful. It hurts. It is not the type of thing you or I like to “have around us” on a continual basis. And what happens on this earth is a “mirror” of sorts — a type of “forecast,” if you will — as to the types of things that are to be expected in the after-life. Thus, we reasoned that hell was real — that is, that was the conclusion that I reached, if you read my previous article, “Is Hell Real? What Do You Think?” from last Friday (ITG, December 16, 1999).
Now to be fair, the “forecast,” if you will, is not that everyone will go to hell when they die (and experience says they surely will die). No, not everone will go there, but those whose attitude and expectation it is to go there. Now what do I mean by “attitude” and “expectation”? I mean simply this: If your attitude and expectation is that people don’t matter, that relationships don’t matter, and that reconciliation with those whom you have hurt and offended doesn’t matter in this life, then — well, let us just say — you are making it known to “whoever is out there” (let’s call this being “God” for a moment, if you will) — you are making it know to this “God” — whomever he is — that you really don’t expect to that in the after-life, as well. In other words, you’re content to live with unforgiveness. If that’s how you want to play the game, well, then, that’s okay. That’s exactly what you’ll receive when it comes time to die. Unforgiveness. That is, you yourself will not be forgiven of those “so many things” that you did while living here on this earth!
Let’s say you don’t like your parents. Now many people don’t like their parents. It is not a sin not to like your parents. But, let us say, that you exceed the “don’t like” limits, and you actually despise your parents. Something inside of you doesn’t only “not like” them, it actually disdains or abhors them, and perhaps even mocks them. “Ha! In their face!” your attitude is. You are rebellious (that is what the Bible would call you). Now because of this attitude, you are saying to the “one” whom has charge of your after-life, “That is how I wish to live my after-life, as well. I wish to live it from a standpoint of disdaining or abhoring others. Whatever comes, comes!” Well, if that is your “attitude” in this life, then, so be it. You’ll be treated “just like that” when it comes to the after-life. That is why I say that everything in this life, really, is like a “mirror” of what’s up ahead in the next life. (That is the “mirror” principle we were talking about before in my previous article.)
Now let’s consider this, too. Perhaps you have been prone to hanging out with the wrong crowd. Let’s call them “rebellious people” for lack of better definition. You know, those are the types that say bad things about their parents to their friends. They don’t do this because they are sincerely asking for prayer or for help, but because they just hate their parents and have nothing better to do than to say unkind things against them. So let’s call them “rebellious” (for that is what the Bible calls them). So these “rebellious people” — well, even though you say with a loud confession, “I’m not like that!” — yet, nevertheless, if you keep hanging around with these “rebellious people,” as the Bible would call them, well, then, you’re going to be caught one day. You’re going to be caught — not because you are a bad person, but — because you are hanging around with the wrong crowd.
Is Hell real? Check your attitude. If there is any unforgiveness at all in it, then you can well surmise that this is the type of thing to be expected in the afterlife, as well. Pray with me, “Dear Lord, whoever you are (for perhaps I am not even sure if you exist), while I may not know much about you, yet I do recognize this thing called ‘unforgiveness’ that seems to reside in me. Lord, if you are out there, then please hear me and remove this unforgiveness which is in my heart. It is such a pain to carry around, and is only a reminder of what is to be expected in the afterlife, if this is really my basic attitude. I don’t want to be like that. You — whoever you are, if you are out there — then please, if you are loving and kind, and you are a God of forgiveness, show yourself to me, because I want to know you. Take away my sin, and make me a fresh, new person, in your sight.”
This article is not meant to be “all comprehensive” for we can only touch upon a few points here. But if you prayed the above prayer, and are willing to “stick it out” as it were (and keep reading these articles, for one), then based on what the Bible says, you will become that “new creation” that you have just prayed above. You will not be destined for hell and bitterness and pain and sorrow. But because of God’s abundant grace, you will find that ‘favor’ that you have always been looking for (perhaps you never even knew that you were looking for it).
[Jesus speaking] “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” (Matthew 7:13-14)