16 years ago today, I wrote this in my journal:
It’s so horrible what’s happened to our nation. Sometimes I wish God would just deliver his people now and burn the rest, but that’s the wrong attitude. We need to lead as many to Jesus as possible and stand up for what we believe. I want to finish the race.
“Lord, help me to walk in your footsteps. I wanna live the way You did as much as possible. I want to glorify You in every part of my life. Don’t let this fire in my heart burn out.”
– September 14th, 1998
Dear Former Self,
Well, kudos for realizing that the desire for God to “burn the rest” is the wrong attitude. What exactly is so horrible about our nation that makes you think millions of people deserve to be burned? Our nation has made a lot of progress. Slavery has been abolished, women have equal rights, and in recent years the crime rate has been dropping.
I suppose you’re thinking of things like R-rated movies, secular music, and same-sex couples. But ask yourself: Even if you could prove that these things are wrong, is burning people really a fair punishment? I know you think that since God is infinitely good, even the smallest crime against him deserves infinite punishment. But why does it have to be that way?
If God is infinitely powerful, he can do whatever he wants. An infinitely powerful God would have the power to forgive an infinite number of crimes without the need to punish anyone. If God is incapable of doing that, he is not all-powerful. What universal law compels God to make a sacrifice to pay for everyone’s sins? And why is God bound to this law if he created all the laws in the first place?
When you casually write something about how millions of ordinary people deserve to be burned, I don’t think you’re fully considering the horror of the proposition. Do you really believe what you’re saying? If God put you in charge of sending people to Hell, would you order Jewish families (who apparently aren’t saved) into the lake of fire at gunpoint? If so, how are you any different from a Nazi soldier?
By the way, that prayer where you asked God to not let the fire in your heart burn out… I don’t think he’s gonna answer it.
– Matt, September 14th, 2014
This is part of an ongoing series called Letters to My Former Self.