“If I reject God, do I go to hell forever?”

So who’s going to hell forever? According to many Christians it’s those who reject God, won’t accept Jesus Christ, refuse to go to church and don’t repent.

But why do people reject God? And why won’t they repent, accept Christ and go to church? Is it because, in their minds, they have just cause and legitimate reasons for doing so? – like the teenager who rejects God because he asked God for help on a test and God didn’t help him. Or the child who asked God to heal Grandma’s cancer and God didn’t heal her. Or the person who rejects God because God won’t stop terrorists, end war, or prevent natural disasters. And what about all the abuses caused by Christians themselves? What’s God doing about them? And why isn’t he bringing down fire and brimstone on Christian churches that bully people into obedience and threaten children at Sunday School with agony in hell forever if they aren’t Christians?

In all those examples you hear an audible cry of, “God doesn’t really care about me, the world, or my Grandma,” because something happened that turned them off God, and made them bitter. So if I was to get all huffy at a person for rejecting God he’d simply come back with, “So what? God rejected me.” In other words, the person feels justified in dismissing God, because God wasn’t there when he desperately needed him. Or the person’s had horrible things happen to him at the hands of Christians and Christian churches. He’s rejecting God, therefore, because he feels God has forsaken him.

But Jesus knew that feeling exactly when, moments before his death, he cried, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” – because at that moment he felt God didn’t care about him either. He felt utterly forsaken. God had deserted him in his greatest hour of need, and the pain was unbearable. He didn’t reject God because of it, but he certainly understands why WE reject God when we feel forsaken.

So why would God send anyone to hell forever for rejecting him, when on the cross he shows us he knows exactly how we feel? Instead, on the cross, he cries our cry. He’s crying out on our behalf, knowing how we all feel forsaken by God when he doesn’t answer a prayer or he won’t correct a wrong. It hurts, and sometimes it hurts so badly that we want nothing more to do with God. He doesn’t make sense. He doesn’t care.

Does God send us to hell forever because we feel that way? No. He shows us on the cross that he understands.


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