Where I live there is a long sidewalk that makes its way through bushes and shrubs (not really sure of the difference). In the mornings the sprinklers wet them down pretty good usually causing snails to come out and camp out on the sidewalk. Maybe they don’t like to shower who knows.
The other morning I was walking to the car early in the morning still waking up. Then I felt that gross crunch beneath my feet. Instantly I knew what it was. A snail. I always feel bad when that happens because I usually do a pretty good job of avoiding the little guys. But it made me think (once again) about a bigger picture issue. The eternity of hell. Why is it forever? Even if the crime were paid off in a million years wouldn’t that be enough. Forever is just…so long.
The problem begins as people focus on the severity of the crime. But the problem isn’t that our crimes are so magnificent. The problem who we have offended. Back to the snail.
I killed a snail by stepping on him, her or it. If I did the same to a homeless person I might go to jail and even get out eventually. If I kill the president, I’m dead. Another illustration, if I lie to my son he’s not going to really do anything about it. If I lie to my wife I’m sleeping on the couch. If I lie to my boss I could get fired. If I lie to the government I could go to jail!!
In both of these examples, the crime was the same. The only difference was the person who the crime was committed against. In sinning against a Holy God the problem isn’t that our sins are that outrageous but the one whom we have sinned against is that Holy, that good, that magnificent. He is Creator while we are creation. In our rebellious state we have continued to add the debt against us from and eternal Holy God.
“But I don’t think it’s that big of a deal!” When a criminal stands before a judge, his opinion of the law is of little consequence. What matters is what the judge thinks.
So is eternity in hell just? Well, yes. Because the problem isn’t that our crimes are that great but that the one we’ve offended is.