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Author Topic: I feel pathetic  (Read 2850 times)

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Craig

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I feel pathetic
« on: March 03, 2007, 07:07:42 AM »

Ray,
 
Thanks for your reply.  I guess I was being a little lazy wanting you to answer the questions for me.
 
I have read your website a lot and it has effected me greatly.  At first I was quite excited about what I learned from it, but over time I've developed doubts and have had problems with some of the things I learned.
 
I don't know why, but the idea of not "going to heaven" when I die is quite frightening to me.  I recently developed a medical condition where I sometimes have an abnormal heartbeat, chills, etc. and the first time I had it I thought I was going to die and I was so fearful like a coward.  I could only think of myself, that I might end - what a tragedy I thought.  I read your recent post about never being conscious of death itself, but I'm still afraid - and I'm nearly 30 years old.
 
I also fear what other christians will think if I tell them that I believe in universal reconciliation.  The few I've shared with have rebuked me for my sentimental wishfulness, and I have cowardly hid in shame and not brought it up again.  I also fear that because of my excessive flaws, fear, and sin since my conversion to Christ, that God will not allow me into his kingdom, but will put me in the lake of fire to be judged - and who knows, maybe the other christians were right about "eternal" damnation after all.  But my worst fear is that there is no God or afterlife at all or maybe that God just practices annihilation of those he finds lacking in righteousness.  I am a fearful narcissistic coward who only cares about himself when push comes to shove.  I'd be content to sin all day (and sometimes I do) if I was sure that there wou ld be no bad consequences for me.
 
I'm really sinful.  I have all kinds of envious and lustful thoughts constantly.  I think I am so intelligent and I hurt my wife and others' feelings consistently with my sarcasm and superior attitude.  I don't feel like a christian - a follower of Christ, I feel dirty and naked.  Many of the christians I know are of the hell-loving, judgmental sort - the sort I loathe.  I want to believe that they are just like the Pharisees but they are so strong and so convincing.  I don't think I could last 5 minutes in a debate with them.  I worry that they are right and I am wrong.  I am the black sheep of my family, so I am used to it.
 
I converted as a young boy in an evangelical church.  But when I was a teenager I once almost rejected Christ completely out of spite against my over-religious parents.  But I felt God tugging on my heart saying - don't do this, I'm not like you think.  So I held on to my faith, with the hope that God was more than some celestial dictator in the sky.  As time went on I became pleasing to people like my parents - I went to college, got a job, I was married and had a child.  I started to seek God for the first time in my life.  I prayed fairly regularly, read the bible, went to church whenever I could.  My wife was very pleased with me since she was a firm believer and I was happy to lead her.
 
However, our second child died shortly after birth and the walls that were built crumbled and came down.  My pastor, a very decent guy, explained that my son was in heaven but couldn't actually explain why in the scriptures.  I just assumed that God would have to be mindlessly cruel to torture a baby in hell forever, so I put it out of my mind.  I never did like that whole bit about hell.  I figured that more people were saved than we thought - catholics, mormons, agnostics with some christian background, etc.  That had to be the answer, but I wasn't sure anymore.  Calvinism had come into vogue and now some of my friends were okay with a large amount of humanity burning forever.  I didn't really worry about it.  I tried to witness sometimes, but usually it just turned sour.  I was too overbearing, I was trying to rack up the score in heaven.
 
Then one day I started to pray in my cube at work about two years ago and I feel like God spoke to me - not audibly, but in my mind or spirit.  He said I could ask him anything.  My first question - why do you send people to hell forever?  It just doesn't seem to be consistent with the crime - especially those who've never heard about Christ.  His answer was strange - I'll show you this later.  After this opportunity with the Lord, did I fervently beg and seek him out and pray to him daily, etc?  Nope, I kind of forgot about the whole thing.  See, right after my conversation with God, I found out that I was going to get a really good refinance rate on my house - I'd save $300 per month.  I was a tad more excited about this than communicating more clearly with the Creator of the Universe than I ever had before.  I know, I am pathetic.
 
Months went by and I was searching the internet for some reason and I saw an ad for a website that said hell did not exist.  Sure, whatever - I got to see this baloney.  It was your website.  I was blown away.  I even sent you an email that said "I am blown away!"  I was so excited that I could not contain telling my wife that very night.  I told her the good news and her response was something along the lines of "did you just join a cult?"  So some guy on the internet tells you that there is no hell, huh?  We had to agree to disagree.  She took issue with all of your major teachings - I was only really worked up about the eternal/eonian judgment thing.  Somehow tithing seems a little less important than eternal damnation.  Our marriage has survived, but this topic is off limits.  She no longer is pleased with me spiritually I presume.  Sh e was nice enough to agree to not tell my family - they would have eaten me for lunch (uncle-pastor, brother-seminary student, father-rabid endtimes reader).
 
When I shared this with our marriage counselor and my small group leader at church, they both told me I was nuts or worse.  They said I should rely on the pastors/church elders/augustine/calvin/john piper for direction.  I didn't know what to do.  So more or less I've just coasted for the last year and a half.  And my faith seems to get weaker and weaker, then a little stronger, weaker, even for a bit, weaker, no stronger, etc.  There is no rhyme to it.
 
I am a pathetic christian.  I can't even begin to know how to change my life or what to do.  What does following Christ really mean?  How can I know what is the truth?  And I'm such a cowards anyways, that what would it matter if I did know the truth.  I know I'm a sinner - believe me - I know.  But will I ever change in this life?  I know that Peter was a coward for a while and that gives me hope, but what if I never change?  I really don't want to go into the lake of fire, whether eonian or not.  I was always taught that faith was a silver bullet - is it?  And what then is faith?  And if I can only believe if God makes me, drags me or whatever, then how can I get him to drag me?
This is so frustrating, but this is where I am.  Sorry for the length.
In Christ (I hope),
Bill
 

Dear Bill:
I can appreciate you situation and the emotions you are going through. I receive a lot of emails in which people tell me how hopeless they feel because of sins, weaknesses, lusts, attitudes, finances, marital problems, horrible diseases, and the like. Many ask me to please not share their email with others because they are too embarrassed to have anyone but me read them. I try to give special attention to such emails, and I know how much it is possible to hurt when everything is going bad and wrong.
 
Unfortunately, I cannot solve any of their problems, nor yours. I can give a little advice, reassurance, and offer up prayer, but it is ultimately God and God only who is your Saviour. You seem to be wondering when God will begin to drag you to Christ, without realizing that everything you go through is part of the journey to that end.  We usually don't see it until sometimes years after it has happened. I have told many that they will not begin to come out of their sins until they begin to really HATE THEM.  Oh, I know, "everybody hates their sins."  No, not really. When you begin to hate your sins like poisonous snakes you WILL STAY AWAY FROM THEM. God is able. God will also wait until you yourself are thoroughly convinced that you are powerless to conquer your sins. When you do finally begin to have major victories over your carnal mind and the lusts of your flesh, you will KNOW that it was God and not you. It always gets darker just before the dawn, so don't lose faith.

God be with you,

Ray
 
« Last Edit: March 03, 2007, 10:56:22 AM by hillsbororiver »
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