One of the many misconceptions that non-believers have about Christianity is that Christians only attend church, follow the Ten Commandments and the teachings of Jesus, and claim to believe in God because they are scared to spend eternity in hell. They say that the Church uses hell as a scare tactic to gain more followers, that this method is not only unhealthy but also unfair.
While I am sure that there are some churches and individuals who use hell as a scare tactic, (and sadly, only follow Christ because they are scared of hell), I strongly disagree with this way of thinking. Because as stated in the title of this post, I am not a Christian because I’m scared of hell.
Do I believe in hell? Sure. But I have no idea what it’ll be like aside from the fact that it is a place void of God. And that is the #1 reason I do not want to be in hell.
A couple of weeks ago, my friend Miriam wrote about some of her thoughts on God and recounted a question asked of her: why do you want to go to heaven?
I want to go to heaven because I love God and want to be close to Him. Sure, that is not the only reason — there are many others, such as being able to meet and walk among all Christians throughout history, including Biblical characters whom I am sure will make me squeal like a little girl face to face with Justin Bieber when I meet them — but this reason is my first and foremost.
There have been a few instances in my life where I have been in the presence of God, and there is nothing like it. Never have I felt so humbled, so inadequate, yet so LOVED. Never have I been so overcome with a barrage of emotions that my body automatically gives out from under me; I stumble, kneel, and bow. Never have I felt more at HOME, more safe or comforted.
And I know that this is just a fraction of what I will experience in heaven.
Do I know that I will go to heaven? Yes. I am confident that I will go to heaven. And I am not being arrogant or presumptuous here — I know that God loves me, sent His only Son to die on the cross for me, that by His grace I am saved, and that I will enter heaven when my life on earth is over.
I am not afraid to die.
I often think back to the haunting dream I had late last year. How, at the moment when I knew I was about to die…
…my life does not flash before my eyes. I am afraid for a split second before a sense of calm and acceptance overwhelms my being. I know I have lived an imperfect life, but I also am certain that I will soon be with God.
The only fear I have about the afterlife is that my loved ones will not be in heaven with me. And this is the reason I evangelize, especially to those who are important in my life. Because I cannot imagine spending the next life without — not experiencing the glory of God without — J, our children, the rest of my family, or my beloved friends.
I also know that I will meet the child we had lost last year in heaven.
I know that many will read this and think that I am delusional. That is fine. All I know is that I am confident in my faith, and that I want to share my faith with others because I want them to experience this same joy. Not because I want them to be scared of hell.
So, to reiterate, I am not a Christian because I am scared. I am a Christian because I am loved.