You’re Going To Hell, But I Love You.
By Chris Plekenpol
Over the holidays I was asked this question. How can someone say, “You are going to Hell and I love you in the same breath?”
I think that is a common question. How can anyone be so arrogant to say that another person is going to Hell and then have the audacity to say, “I love you.”?
Let me try and answer this as plainly as possible. People do bad stuff. There isn’t one person I know that keeps up their own value system, let alone God’s. That;s b’cause we all live in a world where we are the exception. We scoff at others who violate their own principles and proudly call them hypocrites.
Selfishness and perfect love can never co-habitate. That is why you are going to Hell. It’s not because I want to send you there. It’s not that I have some kind of feud with humanity that I seek its demise. No, it is something common to me. I’m a hypocrite too. I have preached people to do things consistently that I couldn’t do myself.
I too was bound for Hell.
One day I met the only One who could save me. He was born perfect. He never sinned. He missed out on the selfishness that makes us push back against perfect love. His perfect love was so powerful that He took my selfishness and died with it so that my selfishness would not separate me from Perfect Love. Of course I’m talking about Jesus. God demonstrated His love for us in this, that while we were still sinners Christ died for us!
So when I tell you “You are going to Hell”, and “I love you”, in the same breath it is like a recovering alcoholic looking at a man in a drunken stupor. The recovering alcoholic looks on in love and knows that if this person doesn’t change, he is doomed. And out of love, he does the one thing that an apathetic person or an enemy wouldn’t do: he says something. He says, “There is help. I was once like you. I once felt hopeless. You don’t have to feel that way.”
That alcoholic may feel judged, but that is not really true. The recovering alcoholic can’t judge. Not too long ago he was in the same spot, but he responded to help. That is the only difference. The recovering alcoholic responds to help, while the wallowing one suffers.
That analogy breaks down like all analogies do. Please don’t get lost in the recovering alcoholic versus the recovered alcoholic. That’s not the point.
The point is this. I was going to Hell. Then someone announced the good news to me in love that there was hope. I responded and accepted that Jesus died on the cross for my sin and rose from the dead. I asked the Holy Spirit to come into my life and make me the person He wants me to be. Now, I seek to tell as many as might listen that there is hope.