Faith musings from the seat of a forklift.
There are a couple of phrases that aren’t that uncommon in the warehouse environment. The first is “Go to Hell”. The second is “Burn in Hell”. Typically, there is another word attached to these phrase. Additionally, these phrases aren’t just common in the warehouse environment, they are also found in popular movies and television programs. Some might say that these are just words, and they mean nothing, but do they really? The truth is that words do have meaning, and the utter horror of meaning can be found in the abject use of the word. In other words, when you say what you mean, you really do mean what you say.
Now then, before I continue, there is something I want to say. My father died last weekend. I was not necessarily close to him, but I never meant him any ill will either. Sadly, there are those that did, and still do. I don’t make it my policy to name names, so I won’t. However, those two phrases that I have previously mentioned, I have heard used in reference to him. In fact, I have heard them used with regard to him many times in my life, and even by people who identified as Christian/Catholic. This isn’t right.
In the Book of Concord, we read the following from the section on the Commandments:
The Fifth Commandment.
Thou shalt not kill.
What does this mean?–Answer.
We should fear and love God that we may not hurt nor harm our neighbor in his body, but help and befriend him in every bodily need [in every need and danger of life and body].
I am just going to come out and say it, any form of hatred of another person is violation of this commandment. It is one thing to hate an ideology, or a particular life style choice, but it is forever sin to hate a person. However, let me make a distinction here, some of my most hated movie characters are played by some of my favorite actors. If I hate a particular fictional character, that is fine. I just need to recognize that that particular character is not a real person, and rather a metaphor of an idea. As for the actor playing that character, I need to recognize that they are playing a role, and otherwise doing their job. For example, Mark Hamill might play Muska in Castle in the Sky, but he is not actually Muska himself. Thus, it is all well and good to hate the character Muska (a villain that fans love to hate), but it is wrong to hate Mark Hamill, though it is fine to disagree with him on any matter, particularly matters related issued of scripture.
In the thirteenth chapter of the Gospel of John, we read of the Last Supper, and Christ Jesus washing his disciples feet. After the supper, and Judas has departed (to betray him), in verses 34~35, we read the following:
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
How dare we think to say to somebody “Go to Hell” or wish for them “Burn in Hell” if we think to call ourselves Christians. No! Such should never be found among us. In truth, humanity is created in the image of God, and do we really desire that the image of God should be cast into the Lake of Fire? No, we should not ever desire such. Indeed, I have to wonder if such hatred may be what keeps some from entering into the Kingdom of God. Indeed, it is debated among theologians that the unforgivable sin is that of unrepentance, and lingering hatred that is retained until death, with no repentance, is unrepentant sin. If this is the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit spoken of in Matthew 12:31, then a good many people risk an eternity in Hell for refusing to repent of their sins.
Hatred of a person is a violation of the commandment to not commit murder. You can hate what they believe in. You can hate what they have done. However, you are forbidden by God’s commandment from hating the person. Christ Jesus died for the sins of the world, yours and mine. That means he died for those who you may not like. Such being the case, for us to hate anyone is to put ourselves in opposition to God, and such should not be done.
We need to put an end to the use of terms like “Go to Hell” or “Burn in Hell”. It is not our right to judge whether or not a person belongs in Hell. In fact, the simple truth is that we all belong in Hell. Honestly, why would a holy and just God want a sinful creature like you or I in his kingdom? Think about it.