What happens when we die?

What happens when we die? Do we face a great tribunal? Is God a trial judge over our life’s journey?

Here’s a confession: I believe God is more merciful than we can imagine – despite the realities of how we treat one another. I believe God will welcome us with open arms. Now, having said that, I do believe that God, when the day of judgment comes for you and for me, is NOT going to say: “The problem with you is you were too kind and too loving and too gracious. You showed far too much acceptance for one another. What were you thinking? Oy Vey.”

Seriously, do you really think that God is going to tell you and me that we were too kind, too loving, too gracious, and showed too much acceptance for one another? I don’t.

Here’s another confession: I confess that I am one who believes in no hell in the afterlife. I think there is plenty of hell right here: war, violence, poverty, abuse. I also believe that the one thing that God can’t do is stop loving us. Thus, despite how we treat one another, there is great hope for you and even for me!

Our society doesn’t agree with that stance. People can teach a judgmental, vengeful, and angry God, and folks are fine with it. But it is dangerous to teach a God who is accepting, loving, forgiving, merciful, kind—that kind of teaching can get someone in trouble. But you need to know that is the kind of pastor I am. I’m not doing my job if I never challenge you to stretch a little wider with your welcome.

And so, it seems fitting that we do more than just talk about welcome. It seems fitting that people in our lives hear more than just empty words from us. It seems fitting that people in our lives see Christ in us. If not us, then whom?

God has called you and me to be different.

Shalom, Paul