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.