People Don’t Like Being Told They Are Going To Hell

We need to think about how we say things to others who disagree with us about God.

In speaking to those who don’t believe in Jesus, as the Savior of mankind, let me assure you they don’t take kindly to being called lost, ignorant, deceived, or hell-bound. They find it condescending, judgmental, and hateful. If I were a nonbeliever I would not like it either. As a Christian, we have to understand this. We need to “feel” what they are saying and understand that it’s a strong statement we make when we say they are lost or going to Hell. That kind of pronouncement carries with it a lot of emotion and judgment.

We can not be flippant with those words if we want to show that we care. If we are offering the grace of Jesus, we can’t do it from the approach that they are wretched in need of a massive makeover to appease God and really, to appease us. They are no less human and no more unworthy than any of us. We dehumanize people so often with our words all in the name of God. I have been guilty of this myself but I don’t want to continue to treat people as less than human.

That in no way means I don’t believe all people of every race and status are in need of the gospel. Everyone deserves to hear about Christ and needs Him for salvation. My error is insensitivity. I haven’t been as sensitive to them in the words I have used to convey what I believe to be true. We are fools if we think they are not going to struggle with our belief that they are sinners and will go to Hell for eternity in judgment. I mean who wants to hear that! Yet, if we believe that those without Christ are bound for eternity from God then it is the greatest act of love we can give to do everything we can to help them see the way of salvation. Think about it like this: if another person saw me doing something that was harmful to myself and thy intervened, I may not appreciate it in the moment but surely it is an act of mercy and care! I often try to help people who don’t want to admit or recognize their issue(s) but to do nothing feels cruel. No one, I mean no one, is going to shake your hand and thank you for telling them they are going to Hell. Let’s put ourselves in their shoes. We have to think very carefully how we speak to those who are without a relationship with Christ. I suggest the following:1) Before you engage them remind yourself that you are no better than them and the same salvation you say they need, you needed yourself. Give grace because you surely needed grace yourself.

2) This goes with the first one but be humble. This is not about your pride or ego or another notch on your belt or winning an argument. You do this because you care about them so prove it in your words.

3) You should dialogue and debate with them but don’t let emotions or anger influence your words. I have been so guilty of this in my debates. There have been times where my ego got in the way or I let anger cloud my judgment. It undermines everything I am saying when that happens.

4) Be prepared for them to attack you. They are not going to like that you lean on faith and not reason. They are going to ridicule it and disrespect you. You need to be honest that you don’t have the proof they want to see and also that you don’t know all the answers. If they don’t believe then give them that right. Respect their decision. Your job is to share and not to convert. You cannot convert people because you do not have the ability to change their heart.

Let’s think through how we engage people with the gospel. Let’s treat them respectfully and lovingly. Let’s be patient with them just as others were patient with us. Hurting people in the name of truth is wrong. We should present the truth with sensitivity and care.

Interview with a Kia pt2: Turn about is Fair Play

KIA and I have been in a dialogue over the last several months about the faith. I am firmly planted in the faith and he has left the faith. I interviewed him and to keep it fair, he has now interviewed me. While he only gave me three questions I do see them as set up questions for he and his entourage to “catch” me in what they will deem fallacious arguments. Nevertheless, I answered them honestly. I am not using these answers to try and prove my faith. There are times when I will defend and argue the faith. Maybe through discussion from here I will do that. BUT, my answers to his questions were not that. They were my honest reflections.

You Said What On Facebook?


Social media is a great tool for connecting with friends from anywhere, for allowing people into our lives who want to see it, for information, and sometimes even for inspiration. There is a lot to like about social media. I use it constantly for making spiritual challenges and to communicate to church members. I like to highlight good things my kids are doing and to brag on my wife. But social media can also be the devil. I do not exaggerate. I have seen it destroy friendships, marriages, and young adult’s reputations. I have seen it be used to hurt others and as a tool for bigotry and hate.

Here are three specific ways I see social media being used in a harmful way:

  1. 1) A place to publicly shame others.

We see something posted we don’t like or something in the media that angers us and we attack with shame grenades. It feels so right in the moment. We are dispensing justice to the atrocities of what we feel. How dare they? It is only right that I call them out publicly. We feel so self righteous. And then all the people pleasers out there feel the tension of our post and so they like it and make a comment supporting us, most of the times out of a desperate desire to be liked by us than because they agree with our tirade.

You see it all the time. Someone starts their post with “You may not want to read what I am about to say. I am about to rant.’ Two things you should know when you see this. This person desperately wants you to read what they are saying or else they would not feel that way and then put it on public display. Secondly, you will see several comment who don’t necessarily further the discussion or disagree with it but quickly try to associate with the ranter out of a need to be liked. I am not trying to be harsh here but to make us aware of what is happening. It is toxic, my friends.

We also love to bash those who are unreachable to us. Celebrities and politicians are typically our target here. We shame them with hateful posts and feel justified in it because we don’t know them personally and we feel confident they want read it anyway. We just rally the other haters to shame with us. What does it accomplish? Better question is how does God receive glory from it?

Another way we shame is by setting up a straw man, an anonymous person, that we attack. We say something like “For all those posting about such and such, you are this and that.” Then everyone on our feed is left to wonder are they talking about me and if not me, then who?? Again what benefit comes from this. If I see someone saying something that I think is wrong I should approach them personally. That is what the Bible says to do in Matthew 18. This passive aggressive way of calling out the Straw Man is cowardly.

Am I ever guilty of shaming others on social media? I have committed this sin before. I am guilty as anyone. We need to call it was it is, sin. There is nothing Christian about it. The reason it feels so good is because it appeals to our sinful nature. This post will be very hard to swallow because most of us are guilty to one degree or another. The right response is not to justify our actions but to repent. To confess our wrong to God and to stop doing it.

2) A place for married people to connect or reconnect with a  person of the opposite sex in a dangerous way.

I do a lot of counseling and I used to be amazed how much social media played a role in affairs. It has become an epidemic. What starts out as connecting with a new friend or reconnecting with a friend from the past turns into flirting through private messages, which can turn into a whole lot more. Social media makes us much bolder, more confident, to the point we might find ourselves doing things we would not normally do. Before we know it we have crossed a line.

Be careful of open ended questions you ask someone of the opposite sex. i call these “feeler” statements. You are trying to gauge interest or someone is trying to gauge interest from you. It can be very subtle but it has potential to lead to infidelity. Also avoid pitfalls like buying into the notion that a little flirting is ok. It is never ok to hurt your spouse by flirting with someone else. Also never, ever, ever confide in someone of the opposite sex about problems in your marriage through social media. If you re struggling in your marriage meet with someone of the same sex who can offer goodly counsel. If you engage in spouse bashing with someone of the opposite sex, it is a sure fire way to lead to an unhealthy emotional connection with that person.

Jesus tells us to flee sexual sin. He is so serious about sin, like this, that he tells us if your eye cause you to sin, gouge it out! Don’t put your guard down on social media with people of the opposite sex. Don’t assume their intentions are innocent. Hold your spouse accountable on social media. Don’t be paranoid but be aware of who they are talking with. If your spouse gets defensive of your desire to hold them accountable, then that can be a warning sign.

 

3) A place to hate

Some of us need blood pressure medicine because we get so frustrated, so angry, at what some post. It drives us bonkers. Another picture of their child, another solicitation to buy their product, another comment about a topic they know little about. What I have learned is we get the most frustrated about things that we are prone to do ourselves. I was talking to someone recently who made a comment about someone on social media posting selfies all the time. I mentioned to them that I noticed that they posted pictures of themselves constantly too but with someone in the picture with them. They didn’t like that observation from me! Reality is someone could make the same assumption about them as they were about this other person. We need to be careful about judging the intentions of others. We sure don’t like it when it is done to us.

Here is a simple rule. If someone bothers you by their posts unfollow them. Don’t mention it to others to get a jab in on them. If you say something to someone else then you are wrong because you are gossiping and backbiting. It does not matter if they are wrong or not. No one deserves to be shamed by you! Just simply don’t follow them.

Now here is a way to grow. Ask yourself if what frustrates you about them is something you struggle with as well. Be careful of blindspots in your life. Be careful you are not judging something in others that you are guilty of.

Social media can be a beautiful place. It can be a place of torment and destruction as well. If you are Christian then you don’t get a Christian timeout on social media. God expects you to represent Him well on social media. Keep your guard up. If you can’t fight the temptation to be shameful, angry, gossipy, or lustful on social media then close your account for the sake of your own soul.