Recently, I’ve been accused of “loving people into Hell” instead of “sharing the truth.”
This is an idea that confuses me. What I was being told was that I needed to stop telling the unsaved about a loving, forgiving God and instead tell them that they are sinners going to Hell.
I can understand the idea. Certainly, I know full well that the unsaved are sinners going to Hell. That is the truth. But isn’t the fact that God is a loving God the truth as well.
I go back to my salvation. I knew I was a sinner. I didn’t need to be told that my life was being lived the wrong way. In fact, if someone were to tell me all about how I was living wrong and going to Hell, I would tell them to take a flying leap.
I was saved because I realized that God loved me and wanted me to be a better person.
Isn’t that the entire message of the Gospel, God loving us so much that he sent His son for us?
Of course, I’m not saying we shouldn’t call sin what it is.
In reading the account in John 4, where Jesus “witnesses” to the Samaritan woman, he first told her about a living water. A change. A better way.
Then, he did point out her sin, of having a relationship with 5 different men.
Then, again, he ended this message with one of hope for time of change coming where she could know God and worship him by name.
As I see Jesus witness to so many people in the Gospels, one thing is abundantly clear: He meets them where they are. He has a story, a parable, an illustration for any given circumstance that makes His message personal to the one hearing it.
And while he does call sin what it is, he usually sandwiches that in messages of love and hope.
It was a message of “There is hope for a better way, and even though you have sin in your life, God still loves you and wants more for you.”
So, here is the difference that I see. Jesus did His best to meet people on their level. But when we, as modern-day Christians, point out to someone their sins, we often do it from a place of “I’m holier than thou,” or at least, we come off that way, even if we don’t think that way.
The fact is this: People in America today pretty much know what constitutes a sin to Christianity. I don’t think there is a homosexual alive that hasn’t heard homosexuality is a sin about a thousand times.
Pointing out someone’s sin as a means to save them is not a method that often works, at least, not on its own.
We need to do our own version of meeting them at their level. The best way I’ve found to do that is through sharing my own story. Here is how I was sinning, why that was destroying my life, and how I found a path to freedom, hope, and God’s love.
I am a firm believer than hope and love are a much stronger witness than shame and guilt (though I do recognize these do have their place).
I do not believe I am “loving people into Hell” because I focus more heavily on a message of God’s unconditional love than on Hell, fire and brimstone. It was God’s love that saved me. It’s God’s love that saves us all.
That’s the big difference. I think the phrase “loving people into Hell” actually means to be so tolerant that you never bring up God or tout salvation out of fear of hurting feelings, being offensive, losing friends, etc. “Loving” someone so much that you just let them be, without God.
But that is not love. Love is sharing the most important thing in your life with someone else, your salvation. What God did for you. How God saved you from sin.
That is what I share. And I can’t see anything wrong with that.