I have to be in a certain mood to read the book of Proverbs, which consists, primarily, of pithy — yet wise, and true — statements in couplet form. Part of me always thinks, “Most of these were written by Solomon, who, although he was the wisest man in all history, managed to make some really foolish marital, spiritual, and financial decisions.”
But that’s the beauty of the Bible — it never leaves us in the dark as to Who is all wise, all good, and all knowing, and the very foibles of a righteous man are a lesson in themselves:
“Stop trusting in man, who has but a breath in his nostrils. Of what account is he?” (Isaiah 2:22)
Solomon, David, Joseph, Daniel, Moses, Abraham, Elijah, Peter, John, Paul — these were all good, righteous men whose words and actions were used by God, but we are never permitted the illusion that they aspired to be, or even could ever manage to be, equal to God themselves. God graciously shows us their imperfections, and if we stopped being so hard on ourselves, we would realize that this same grace extends to us: we will make mistakes — phenomenally dumb ones — we will err, we will sin, we will fall — but into the arms of a perfect, merciful, loving God.
We don’t know it all. We’re not perfect. Why do we persist in trying to live this lie? Please read the rest at Christians: Let’s Admit We Don’t Know It All at Commonsense Christianity, BeliefNet.
Is hell an actual place or an event? Do you know of any verses where Jesus told the disciples that a place called hell exists? The Rich Man and Lazarus is a parable as Jesus was speaking to the Pharisees not to the disciples. I know it’s traditional for Christians to believe that unbelievers go straight to hell after death, but if hell is not a place then maybe they sleep until the second resurrection as the Bible says. Thank you kindly. I appreciate your posts.
Janene — Hell is, as I’m sure you know, an EXTREMELY controversial topic, and within some Christian circles, there’s almost a sense of delight in consigning “unbelievers” there. If not delight, then a cavalier, “Oh well, God’s ways aren’t our ways, and those people didn’t believe in Him.”
The Jesus that I follow, love, and learn about is the one who is merciful and just, full of grace and love. The cries of the innocent will be avenged, but we’re talking the cries of the innocent — dreadful things done to children and good people, by others who crave money and power. These people are evil to the point that their god is the Evil One. Their evil is corrupt, perverse, and far beyond saying “damn” when you hit your finger.
Our Jesus of love and mercy, the one who prayed, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do,” as He hung on the cross, says, “every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven.” Traditional, Baptist-type Christianity always adds, “for those who ACCEPT Him,” and proceeds to the list the Four Spiritual Laws, a manmade creation that pulls verses from here and there to make its point. But if you ignore this manmade creation, you see that Christ died for mankind — all mankind – and He is not willing that any should be unsaved. If we can see the injustice of someone being sent to hell because he didn’t lisp through the salvation prayer, then surely God is better than we, and His sense of justice even more refined, and better. We must trust this judgment and mercy and know that it will be right, and not spend our time arguing about who is saved, and who is not. Better to seek Christ’s love and wisdom in our own lives, so we can pass it on to others.
Luke 14:15-24 talks about a great banquet in which the people who assumed they were invited, chose not to come, because they were busy. So the Lord of the banquet tells his servants to go out into the highways and byways, and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame. These are completely unexpected guests, and the ones who feel that they belong at the dinner, will be surprised to find who is there, and who is not there. Many Christians automatically assume that they are the lame and blind, unexpected guests, but we might be wise to ask if our attitude is more along the lines of the ones who were too busy to come — not because we question whether or not we’re going to hell, but rather that we do not seek, and show, the mercy of Christ, because we’re really not spending that much time actually listening to Him. Not in ways that matter.
Jesus does not give us specifics about hell, but He talks a lot about the unexpected people — the poor, the blind, the lame — and He eats with the “sinners” and the “unrighteous.” His life on this earth was consistently given to the hurt, the poor, the sad, the bereft, and He did not limit His ministry to the chosen Jews. His gift was for all.
Justice will be done, but mercy will be shown. I encourage you to seek, find, and get to know more and better each day the Jesus who is the Savior of the World, and if you err on either side, err on grace.