Let him who is convinced that his views are true and right express them . . . at every opportunity . . . without considering how much support or how much opposition he will encounter. Only falsehood is in need of many supporters in order to win the day; falsehood must have the authority of numbers to make up for what it lacks in justification. Truth, by contrast, will always prevail, even if it takes time. Noble, courageous and pure, expressed with all the fiery zeal and conviction and with all clarity of sure awareness, stated again and again at every opportunity, truth will ultimately gain respect and admiration even of those who do not accept it. The only truth that can be lost beyond recall is that truth whose adherents no longer have the courage to speak up candidly on its behalf. Truth has never gone down in defeat as the result of opposition, it has done so only when its friends are too weak to defend it. - R' S.R. Hirsch

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Afraid of the One

"Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell."  (cf. Matthew 10)

A good friend shared with me the words of a man he had heard recently:

The man had said: “I can’t believe that the G-d I love would give me an ultimatum: do this or go to Hell.”

Quite revealing.  Does not the comment serve to illustrate a common misconception: the idea that G-d is threatening us with eternal misery if we don’t do things as He would like it?  The truth, however, is that apart from G-d there is no happiness, only misery. It isn’t a threat, it’s a warning.

“I alone am the One Who can make you joyful and fulfilled; turn to Me or you will never find true fulfillment!” Those who reject the idea of Hell seem to want G-d to say, “You can find joy by coming to Me, without taking the step of coming to Me”. It doesn’t work. To come to G-d means to come to Him.

To not come to G-d means eternal misery.

3 comments:

  1. Exactly. God does not "threaten" us with hell; we are already headed there on our own steam. He is offering a way out of what, for us, is already richly deserved and inevitable.

    "Do this" will not get us anywhere, but it is certainly a popular misconception.

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  2. Yes. Well said. The offer of life and death is set before us and we are admonished and instructed to choose life. Why would you die, O house of Israel?

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  3. The error of Cain has been repeated by so many for so long that it no longer is recognized as error in our generation.

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