Faith

“The emptiness in your heart will only be filled by Christ” is a comment usually made by Christians when talking to non-Christians about God. Sadly, very few Christians are close to knowing what the statement means.

I have been talking about Hell lately, or the lack of it. The doctrine of eternal Hell (which I do NOT think is biblical) brings many frustrations up for me. One of the greatest frustrations I have is what the concept of Hell does to our concept of salvation and evangelizing.

Many Christians think that there is a black and white line. We either believe in Jesus or we do not. So many Christians think it is a perfectly good answer to say that the only way you will be fulfilled is by “accepting Jesus into your heart”, without going into any more detail of what that means or how to really do it. With the doctrine of Hell, we create a “in or out” concept of salvation. You either know God or you do not. This “in or out” concept creates a sort of evangelizing where the Christians think that they have complete truth and non-Christian views are completely false. Thus we Christians are able to ignore the non-Christians while trying to throw our beliefs at them. We as Christians do not allow ourselves much growth. The concentration is on whether you are in or you are out, rather then on the continual growth of our faith.

Our unwillingness to see what may be true in another person’s faith is yet another reason why someone would not be too interested in Christianity. Christians have become a bit “holier then thou” based on the principles of their beliefs. I personally would not be interested in a friend who did not care about what I had to say because they thought I was completely false and deserving of an Eternal punishment. Through out the years I have found out that true friendship can not be built on a relationship that only goes one way. If you do not consider the person who you are talking to as significant, it will show.

I refuse to think that Jesus took pity on us because we were completely evil. I think that Jesus saw good in all of us and that is why He chose to save us. When I look at friends who are non-Christians I can not help but see some of God through them. I have been taught my whole life that they are nothing without becoming “Christians“, but I see the opposite in front of my eyes. I have just as many non-Christians friends as Christian friends that help at the local food bank, are kind to those around them, and seem to be following their God given dream.

I want to break the concept of one group being more superior then another. That line of thinking will not help either our evangelizing or our personal growth in our own faith. I am tired of Christians thinking answers like , “The emptiness in your heart will only be filled by Christ”, are good enough. The truth is that many people who claim to be following Jesus are not and many people who have not even heard of Jesus are choosing to follow Him. Truly following Jesus goes farther then just a few words. It is a life walk and everything needs to be taken into consideration.

Faith is a constant growth, not a black and white line. Just telling a friend, “you must choose Christ”, can NOT be good enough anymore. We need to know what “choosing Christ” means. We can no longer ignore the evidence of God in those around us, just because they have not claimed themselves as Christian. Shallow outside looks will not suffice we need to be willing to look deep into someone’s soul. This will call for you to be willing to open up to others just as much as you want them to open up to you.

Accepting Christ means that you are accepting what he did. The revelation of what Christ did on the Cross is simply indescribable. It has been a constant journey for me. I see more and more of the power of Jesus’ sacrifice every day, it is a revelation that will never end.

Accepting Christ, also calls you to act. I am accepting Jesus’ sacrifice through the way I am choosing to live. It is more then just a few words, it is about picking that belief up and choosing to walk with it. I have a responsibility to follow Him, for He is alive.

I think that everyone sees part of the revelation of Jesus Christ. When I see people pursuing their God given Vision such as art, writing, film, medicine, etc… I see them pursuing Jesus. We can NOT ignore God in others anymore. When it starts to be more about discovering God and less about who is right we will begin to see true change in this world.

It is true, “The emptiness in your heart will only be filled by Christ”. But, we need to be willing to look into what that means. And we can no longer deny faith where it clearly stands.

Easier Said Then Done

“It’s not that I don’t want everyone to go to heaven. I do!”, is the sort of line I get A LOT when I am talking to a fellow friend about the doctrine of Hell. I have been warned numerous times to be careful that I am reading the actual Bible rather then what I want it to be saying. For some reason almost every person I debate with about the Doctrine of Hell, seems to think that they would be just fine and even want everyone to be saved, “just that is NOT how God works“.

So I might be one of the only Christians that does not know whether or not I “want” everyone to be saved. I mean I guess I could say something like, “I want everyone to be saved!” out of ignorance, but I do not feel like it rings true. There are and have been some really evil people out there. Can we really say that we want someone who is responsible for the murdering of thousands if not millions (Hitler, Caesar, Kiangsi Kahn, etc…) to be saved? Can someone look at a man who is raping their daughter and say that they still love them? Sorry that I bring up horrific images, but they get more and more common every day.

I was walking home from work the other day and someone screamed at me, scaring the HIBAJEEBIES out of me. It was around midnight and they were doing it just for “fun”. I personally did not think it was “FUN”. I was angry and was tempted to throw a rock at their back window (10 year baseball pitching experience). It is sort of funny, because what I was doing before those people interrupted me, was praying.

When I say that I believe that God has everlasting love for even the least of us I am talking about a truly AMAZING thing. To love, is a very hard thing to do. To have everlasting love, is something that I can not come close to putting my head around. Love demands for you to be selfless and humble. Two qualities even “Christians” have a really hard time with.

Instead of throwing the rock, I chose to pray for the people who yelled at me. It was HARD!!! I needed to grit my teeth and work hard to find meaningful words to pray for these people. It is easy to say something but often it is really hard to actually mean it.

I am not an expert at loving. I have a very hard time trying to love those who are even the closest to me (sometimes they can be harder to really love). I think that everlasting love is something ONLY God can do. It is not a small thing to say that God has EVERLASTING love. But He does.

Even though we might falter, even though we might not believe it or accept it, Jesus loves us. He loves us to the point that we put Him on the cross and He still asked God to forgive us. Jesus will ALWAYS be there for us. This is something I can not say about myself.

I think that the true risk and the hardest thing of all is to be able to love those who do not deserve it. Believing that all will be saved is HARD (at least for me), but it is also exciting. It gives me hope for mankind and compassion for even the most evil people. I am a man with faults who will miss his chance to love some people who might need it, but I serve a God who loves without restriction and without measure and whose bond can not be broken.