So lately I’ve been involved in some discussions about who’s going to heaven and who’s not. For some reason we love to play this futile game and I don’t know why. We love to look at people like Ghandi and say “He’s going to hell because he didn’t believe in Jesus”. And I think we do it simply to make ourselves feel better. Because we know we’re nowhere near as “good” as Ghandi was, but we can still brag that we’re going to heaven.
We need to cut that crap out.
The fact is, we have no idea who’s going to heaven and who’s not. We really don’t. Unless somebody kyped a copy of the book of life and posted it on the internet, we really don’t know. We do know that Jesus said; “But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven” and so we should take that to heart in our own lives. But when it comes down to it, it’s not our place to make judgement calls about others, it’s God’s. He is the only one truly capable of administering justice.
I was listening to Genesis on my iPhone this morning and I noticed a few amazing things about God’s justice and about his grace. In the story of Adam and Eve, he gives them a paradise and tells them to stay away from the a particular tree or they will die. Eve promptly eats from it anyway and so does Adam. So what does God do? Does he kill them? No. “But he said”…. , no, he doesn’t kill them. He administers justice by kicking them out of the garden and making life difficult on them. But he doesn’t kill them. One thing I find fascinating is that as God is kicking them out of the garden, He makes them clothes. What’s that about? They are SINNERS, let them make their own damn clothes! Yet God makes them clothes to protect them. Even in their disobedience, He still cares about them and he still is with them.
So then they have a few kids named Cain and Abel. Cain is kind of a jerk and gets jealous one day and kills his brother Abel. So what does God do? He kills Cain right? Eye for an eye, right? No, he administers justice by banishing Cain and making him a wanderer, but he doesn’t kill him. And here’s the kicker. Cain is afraid somebody out in the wilderness will kill him for what he’s done, so what does God do? He puts a mark on Cain so everyone will know they had better leave him alone or God will punish them 7 times as hard. WHAT???? Seriously? This dude is a murderer! Let him get his due! Nope. Don’t touch him, because God still loves him; Still cares about him; Still protects him.
I think our capacity to really understand God’s love and grace and justice is just so limited. It’s so narrow. It’s so black and white. Yet God is big and he sees things on such a large, broad, complex level. He is the sovereign judge because He’s the only one capable of fairly administering justice. This is why Jesus said we have no right to judge. “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”.
So before we go taking it upon ourselves to condemn Ghandi to hell, let’s remember who ultimately has that say, and who doesn’t.