Yes, Virginia, there is a Hell…

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With the revelation of the jury’s verdict of not guilty in the Casey Anthony Case where she was accused of murdering her two year old daughter, the internet, cell phones, and conversations all over the country, perhaps even the world, were buzzing.  From what I can see, mostly with outrage.  The evidence had been presented, and some of it compelling.  In the end, the world had to rely upon the presence of proof beyond a reasonable doubt for there to be justice for Caylee.  The only ones who could decide that were the jury members and they didn’t find it to be the case.  So now people are shell shocked, some are angry, some are depressed, and others are relieved.  Casey Anthony is free to go about her business. 

Whether or not I think she killed her daughter, I will be so bold as to say that I do not approve of her lifestyle, and have no desire to replicate it.  I find her sycophant existence, living off her parents, to be an affront to adulthood.  While her child was missing, even if she did not kill her, Casey partied, got drunk, lived a life of excess and commemorated all of it with a brand new tattoo.  She has proliferated her life with lies and deceit.  I feel sorry for her, because I think she could do something else.  She is an attractive woman and, I have a feeling, that, if she were to dedicate herself to something, she could be successful at whatever she tried.  Instead, she has wandered down a path that has led to nothing but heartache, disappointment, and ruin.  All of this, apart from the death of her only child.

I read a blog posted via link to my friend’s Facebook page.  In it the author speaks against this call for God’s justice, the articulation that one day Casey Anthony will see Hell.  I do not believe they are one in the same, but this author claims that he gave up Hell; Hell doesn’t exist.  I’m sorry, but it does exist.  I’ve felt it.  Scripture is clear, and Christ warns against the behaviors that will get you prime real estate there.  So what is Hell?


(Image courtesy of amightywind.com)

This image is of the “lake of fire” described several times in Revelation.  Most depictions of Hell seem to involve fire.  I don’t know anything about that.  I know Christ says it will be a place of “eternal punishment” (Matthew 25:46).  For some this means physical suffering, agony the likes of which the world has never seen.  It is more gruesome than the Holocaust, more tragic than Nagasaki and Hiroshima.  Maybe.  I think Hell is the worst thing I can imagine.  The worst pain I have ever experienced is spiritual.  I can tell you what spiritual desolation feel like; I ran from my call.  I know how pervasive it is.  It haunts and hurts your body, your mind, your spirit.  There is no vacation from it, no rest, no slumber to defray its effects upon you.  There is nothing that can numb that pain.  No vice that can turn you from feeling the loneliness and isolation from God.  The problem is that I know what the presence of God feels like and I need it.  Others don’t, so they don’t fear Hell unless it is portrayed as physical suffering.  But physical pain, as horrific as it is, is not on the same level as spiritual pain, and the Apostle Paul writes that we will have spiritual bodies after the day of judgment when we are resurrected (1 Corinthians 15:44).  Imagine an eternity of unending, unabated spiritual pain.

Scripture boils it down to this: If you are going to live your life on Earth as if there is no God, then you will not be with God for eternity.  That is a reality that most of us do not want to confront.  Wishing that there is no Hello doesn’t make it so.  We say things like, “What about good people who don’t believe?”  I don’t know.  I know what it was like to turn my back on what God was telling me to do and the life God calls me to live.  That was living Hell.  Is Casey Anthony going to Hell?  I don’t know.  It’s not my place to send her there.  I hope no one has to go to Hell.  I’m a Christian and a United Methodist who believes in a God of Grace.  I have experienced that Grace for myself time and time again in my life.  I want that for everyone, even Casey Anthony, especially Casey Anthony.  I want it for my friends, my family, my church members, those I know, those I do not know, and even my enemies because that is what Jesus expects of me.  Trusting in, sharing with, and telling of God’s Grace is foundational in the Gospel and spreading it to the world.  I may not be able to say many things for sure, but I can promise you this: There is a Hell and, if you have just a glimpse, a taste of what it can be, you will never want to live your life in any way that will send you there.  Hell serves we who believe in God as motivation to keep from intentionally sinning, rather than a blunt tool to beat non-believers over the head with, because they don’t have a point of reference for spiritual deprivation.  I can also say with great assurance that God, this God of Grace, wants you to spend eternity with him, to turn from your sins, and embrace forgiveness.  Your choice.

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