Posted on November 16, 2014
Posted on November 16, 2014
Some friends and I were talking this week about our upbringing in the church. Two of us grew up with the idea that somehow, when we got to judgment day, our lives would be played out on a TV screen for all of heaven to view in horror every infraction we committed in our lives. How sad is that? And where on earth in the Bible does it say that we will be humiliated in the presence of all of heaven once we get there… IF we get there?
We all grew up with the idea that putting ourselves in a compromising situation was going to lead us down a path to sinful behavior. The best we could do was keep ourselves pure and protected from sinners.
At the small Christian High School my husband and I attended, anyone caught drinking alcohol or smoking marijuana was expelled and sent to the trailer school to be isolated from the rest of the “good kids.” We had banquets instead of dances. We had to wear dresses on chapel days. We couldn’t celebrate winning a football game with too much pride because “pride cometh before a fall,” and too much celebration would not be what Jesus would do. You see, if we did those things, or hung around people who did those things, we would become just like them. We would slide down the proverbial slippery slope toward hell.
I believe the imaginary slippery slope is in part responsible for the church’s fear of inclusivity. If we include those who are “actively involved in sin” we will be condoning their behavior and thereby give everyone else permission to sin like they do. If we let a divorced and remarried person be in leadership, we are saying that it’s okay to get divorced and remarry (aka adultery) and everyone will bail on their marriages to find someone “better.” If we allow a gay man or woman to teach Sunday School, they will most certainly transfer their value of same-sex relationships on to our children and they may become too tolerant of their sin or worse yet, become gay themselves.
I could go on, but I think you get the picture. We are afraid that if we allow, accept, condone, ignore or otherwise neglect to draw attention to sin, we will start down the slippery slope of religious compromise. And if we do that, we will most certainly be heading to the bad place.
I’m not sure that’s really true.
The problem I have with it is this: We are ALL actively involved in sin. Whether you want to admit it or not, we all sin every single day. Some of our sin is visible to others and some is hidden. Either way, we are sinners and our only hope is the saving grace of Jesus Christ. We have no power on our own to save ourselves. We have no hope without Christ.
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God. – Ephesians 2:8
Wouldn’t the kids in Sunday School be much better off if they understood that everyone has faults? That everyone sins, everyone is unable to earn God’s love? Shouldn’t they know best that the beautiful thing about His love is that we don’t have to earn it? That in fact, we can’t?
That’s what I want my kids to know. And honestly, I wish I had spent more time reminding them of that when they were young. You see, I could easily say they are on a slippery slope and that if Christ returned to take us all to heaven today, they might not make it. But I don’t want to scare the hell out of them. I want them to choose relationship with Christ because life is full of hope in Christ.
If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. – Romans 10:9
Yes, and amen.
It’s a whole lot more simple than we want to make it, because human nature says that we need to earn anything good that happens to us. Good thing for us, God’s economy is not the world’s economy, and we don’t have to live a try-hard life just to make sure that our sins won’t be on display for the world to see.
Let me just say this though, I do believe we are held accountable for our actions, I just don’t believe that it will be on “judgment day.” Choices have consequences, and our children desperately need to know that. Life has a natural way of rewarding good choices and punishing poor choices. It really has little to do with God’s judgment and more to do with the natural order of things. Remember this,
Forgiveness is already given, even before you repent.
So we don’t need to worry, that today’s poor choice is going to be tomorrow’s headline news in heaven. We get to stop, re-think, apologize, assess, and hopefully grow from the experience of a poor choice and then learn from the school of hard knocks NOT to do that again. Pain is a very effective teacher. Let’s let pain do its thing without us having to add insult to injury. Maybe if we do, the slippery slope will prove to be a myth.
What is your view of what will happen in heaven? Will your sins be on a screen for all to see? Do you believe there is a slippery slope?