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Need some perspective on overcoming fear

Hi guys. I know the community hasn't been super-active for awhile, but I'm hoping that maybe this post happens across some of your friends pages and I coud get some perspective.

I'm Courtney, I'm 30, and I've been around the comm for awhile, but I think this is my first time posting.

What I struggle with is fear, particularly fear of hell. I'm sure all Christians at some point or another have dealt with this, but mine is overly large, ongoing, and debilitating.

I was raised in the Southern Baptist Church, and while God's mercy and love were talked about, they weren't really emphasized. It was fire and brimstone, judgement, sin, etc. As a teen and even into college, I was pretty much the sterotypical super straight-laced good little Christian girl, and as result didn't experience much in terms of actual life.

As I got older, I realized that the things I was doing, my behavior, wasn't motivated by love for God or committment to Him, but rather out of fear and shame. I knew this had to change. But how does one begin to love a God who seems terrifying and harsh cruel? The very idea of the Gospel as I understand it seems cruel: Choose Jesus or burn.

Has anyone else dealt with these kinds of feelings? How does one begin to get a balanced view of God? If you've felt this kind of fear, how did you work through it?

I know this is a sensitive and harsh subject, so I appreciate any thoughts or advice you could offer.

Thanks.

Comments

pastorlenny
Apr. 21st, 2012 05:06 pm (UTC)
The gospel is most certainly not "Choose Jesus or burn." This places the burden on us for our own salvation. Also, salvation is not simply the avoidance of hell. It is us perfected by and alive forever in the full presence of our triune God.

The religion you were raised in is a heretical offshoot of apostolic Christianity. It is good to be worred about one's behaviors, words and thoughts -- because there are right and wrong ways of behaving, speaking and thinking. But the idea is to have a conscience towards God, not a fear of something that 1) probably doesn't exist and/or 2) from which one is already safe.
princessodyssey
Apr. 21st, 2012 06:27 pm (UTC)
Thanks for your input. I definitely appreciate the perspective.

Some questions:

How would you describe the Gospel?

Why do you say hell probably doesn't exist? Are there Scripture pasages I'm missing or interpretations I've misunderstood?

Thanks again.
pastorlenny
Apr. 21st, 2012 08:54 pm (UTC)
Hell most certainly exists. It's just that most people's conception of Hell is derived more from Dante than from scripture.

I would describe the gospel as the good news that Jesus saves -- and that this salvation entials us being perfected by and alive forever in the full presence of our triune God.

I am not sure which passages of scripture you're missing or have had misinterpreted for you. But if you have a specific question about a specific passage, I would be more than happy to try and help you better understand it.

paedraggaidin
Apr. 21st, 2012 06:29 pm (UTC)
The gospel is most certainly not "Choose Jesus or burn."

Good luck getting the Fundamentalists down here to believe that. *sigh*

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