That Balloon Payment is a Doozy
I actually got depressed for about an hour and a half today. That’s unusual. I believe I know what was wrong. First, the oven was self-cleaning, and that always gives me a painful headache. Second, I was having problems with my sister.
I quit writing about her a long time ago, at her request, but today I feel like saying a few things.
Last year she was charged with two felonies: aggravated battery on a law enforcement officer (with injuries) and felony fleeing and eluding. If I recall correctly, the mandatory sentences are five and three years. She also racked up some driving misdemeanors serious enough to carry jail time. The courts went very easy on her, allowing her to enter diversion programs. She must have blown it, because next week, she has her trials. Two of them, anyway. There are two misdemeanors that haven’t been set for court.
The felony charges came from an incident in which she took off after she was pulled over. The state claims she injured the police officer who was trying to write her up. I have not seen the video. I haven’t been to court, except for one hearing, in which I was mistakenly subpoena’d as a witness.
I am willing to say that much about her situation. I’m not willing to reveal the depths to which she has sunk. There are details about her lifestyle that shouldn’t be disclosed. I can say this: I’ve learned that the relationship between suffering and repentance is only strong in certain people. There are others who would quite literally lie to God at the gate, or in the bowels, of hell.
For several days this week, I was unable to determine whether she was alive or dead. These days, people who are on the skids have more rights than are good for them. You can’t barge into their houses and drag them to get help. If they choose to run off and refuse to answer the phone, there isn’t much you can do. Last night, I sent the cops to check on her, and they weren’t able to determine whether she was home. They said I should call hospitals and consider filing a missing persons report. Last night and today I called hospitals. I called a relative, and it turned out my sister had spoken to my aunt. As of last night, she was breathing. Today she called and left an angry voicemail.
I guess that’s a positive outcome! I won’t recover the time and sleep I lost wasting my time with this mess, but she’s alive.
I don’t need anyone to leave comforting comments, although I will certainly understand if they do. Last night while I waited for the cops to call me back, I took Marv out and killed time watching a silly show called Swamp Wars. After a while, I realized my sister’s problems hadn’t entered my mind for over half an hour. I say that so people won’t think I’m pretending to be a martyr, or that I’m trying to depict myself as someone who cries all day over other people’s problems. I am reasonably sensitive and empathetic, but it has been a long time since I learned to budget the hours I waste worrying about people who don’t worry about themselves.
I should also add that a while back, God sent so much faith through me, I believe he put his seal on some requests I had made. I believe these things have been promised, and that they can’t be undone. One request was that God would do everything possible to help my sister and my father turn to him and serve him. He didn’t say they would change. He just said he would do everything he could. That’s the main reason I don’t worry much. There is nothing greater that can be done.
Yesterday, a Facebook post got me interested in the subject of hell. I started Googling alleged first-person accounts of visits to hell. I don’t put much stock in these stories, but you never know.
A guy named Bill Wiese came to my old church and told the story of his alleged visit. He said he had spent 20 minutes in hell. Demons tore him apart, and he couldn’t die. There was no moisture anywhere. It was very hot. There were prison cells. The air stank, and it was too thin to breathe properly. He “knew,” as soon as he arrived, that he would never leave. Not in a trillion years.
Some things about the story didn’t seem right. I don’t understand why demons would be allowed to torment people in hell, or why they would be stronger than humans in hell, but maybe that’s how it is. The notion of eternity in hell is also questionable, in my mind. The Jews believe humans spend a limited amount of time there, which seems to make more sense. Also, Christians are taught that hell will eventually be destroyed, and that there is a second death, which seems to imply that whoever is there at the time will cease to exist. That also makes sense to me. I can see God destroying incorrigible people, but it seems odd that he would allow them to receive infinite punishment for finite sin.
I didn’t read up on Bill Wiese yesterday, but I read a book someone else wrote. A lady named Mary K. Baxter says that Jesus visited her about 35 years ago, and that for forty nights, he took her to visit hell and heaven. She wrote a book called A Divine Revelation of Hell, and if you Google her website, you can download a free PDF.
It’s a remarkable book. She says hell is a huge hollow place inside the earth, shaped like a reclining woman. In other words, hell has a body, just as there is a body of Christ. She said Jesus showed her people who were in torment, and a big percentage of them were Christians. A good number were preachers. One denied the Holy Spirit and taught expensive seminars full of false doctrine. That made me think of Brian Klemmer.
Many of the condemned told Jesus how sorry they were, and they said they would be good and serve him if he released them. At first their stories sounded pitiable, but as soon as Jesus told them their status was permanent, they would begin cursing him. Some of them lied to him; they were just flaming skeletons clothed with tatters of rotting flesh, but they still refused to be honest.
I have serious doubts about the book. Ms. Baxter seems like a simple, humble lady, and it’s hard to believe she could come up with something this creative on her own. And there were things that rang true. The people who insulted and lied to Jesus in hell seemed very realistic to me. But other things didn’t seem right. For one thing, she said people who had accepted salvation were later condemned for returning to sin. Generally, I’ve been taught that the blood covers a saved person, unless he commits the unpardonable sin of blaspheming the Holy Spirit. If Ms. Baxter’s theology is right, you can probably go to hell after falling off the holy wagon for a weekend. I know there have been many times when I’ve gotten weak and chosen to sin. Was I in danger of hell until I asked God’s forgiveness anew? If so, I’ve lost my salvation too many times to count. I don’t think it works that way. Heaven would be nearly empty.
She also said there were different places in hell for sinners who did different things. Liars went to one location. Idolaters went to another. How can this be true? Who commits only one kind of sin? I’ve lied. I’ve tried drugs. I’ve committed sexual sin. I’ve done other bad things. Where would I go?
She recorded some visions which she did not explain, and she admitted there were things about the visits she did not understand. I felt her credibility was increased by her admissions of ignorance. If she had claimed to understand everything, I would be more suspicious.
She had a vision of the future, in which people literally had the number 666 stamped on their foreheads. She mentioned two people who got depressed and went to see the Antichrist. He hooked them to a machine and changed their attitudes. That wasn’t very realistic. If the world has one Head Antichrist in Charge, he’s not going to have time for an office practice. He’ll be flying around on planes, making speeches, and dealing with politicians. Was her vision symbolic? Was it a mistake to take it literally? I can’t say.
None of the hell accounts I’ve read line up well with the others. Mr. Wiese said hell was dry, but Ms. Baxter said she saw a woman crying tears, and she also said there was a strange goo on the walls in certain places. A man named Eby claimed he had been to hell, and he described it as a tiny, dark, grave-like hole in which he was trapped with shrunken versions of the spirits that had seduced him on earth. Another man who claims to have visited hell said he had to walk for many miles to get there, with a crowd of unsaved people who beat him and did unspeakable things to him, but Ms. Baxter says your soul plummets to hell through one of many entrances, and then you’re dragged through a gate.
I take this stuff with a grain of salt, without concluding that none of the tales are true. But reading and thinking about these stories has helped me in one way. It has helped me understand that there are people who can’t be saved. It’s not that Jesus won’t help them. The problem is that they’re self-righteous. They may know Jesus is the only way, yet prefer eternal torment to admitting they’ve sinned. Maybe this is why the Bible tells us rebellion is as bad as witchcraft. I guess it’s worse. Many witches have repented and turned their lives around, but the terminally self-righteous don’t do that.
In my walk, I’ve learned a few things, and I’ve been able to pass them on to a few people and help them. Some people will take a crumb of information and turn it into a banquet that sustains them for a long time and carries them to further victories. Unfortunately, a lot of people won’t listen, no matter what I do. There is no way for me to get through to them. I could raise the dead in front of them, and they wouldn’t pay any attention. This is the great tragedy of creation. God insists on giving us free will, even if it results in indescribable suffering, and many of us will use our free will to turn down salvation.
In God’s plan, free will is more important than our lives. It’s more important than the survival of our race, as the story of Noah shows. It’s more important than protecting babies and old people from Hebrew soldiers armed with swords. It’s more important than preventing the women and livestock of Sodom and Gomorrah from a rain of burning pitch and sulfur. Free will is never going to be destroyed by God, so as long as human beings exist, damnation will be part of our experience. We cause our own suffering, and we send ourselves to hell, because God will not deprive us of choice.
Sometimes I think about people I’m close to, who are absolutely incapable of admitting fault. I ask myself whether I should be like the warm, fuzzy Christians I’ve read about, who make themselves doormats for such people and who never stop saying, “I love you! I love you! I love you!” Am I supposed to act like that? Should I give up my life and follow them around, absorbing their abuse and begging them to change? Have I done enough?
Then I think about Jesus himself. He went into towns, gave powerful demonstrations of his wisdom, righteousness, and power, gathered whom he could, and then left. And he told us that when we were rejected, we were to shake the dust off our feet and leave. He himself will leave, when he removes his people from the earth and permits the Tribulation to take place.
I don’t think I’m supposed to be nicer than Jesus.
I don’t believe I’m supposed to spend so much time on any arrogant, ungrateful individual that I miss the chance to help a number of people who can accept teaching and be blessed by it. The harvest is big, but the workers are few. It seems pointless to neglect the tractable in favor of swine who have already chosen their fate.
Maybe my position will change, but for now, I am unwilling to camp out in a fool’s yard and beg.
I’m too pooped to write about all the wild things that have been happening in my life lately. God has really ordered my steps. He is putting me in places where I need to be and introducing me to people I need to know (or who need to know me). I hope I’ll get around to recording some of it.Stumble it! Save This Page