"Compassion will cure more sins than condemnation." - Henry Ward Beecher

While driving through town a few days ago, I was suprised to see the sign in front of All Peoples Church. So surprised that I went home, grabbed my camera and drove back to take a picture. Not many would be able to drive by the church and miss this big, bold message:


If I wanted, I could call the church and ask them why they posted that sign. I could choose to be offended; I could choose to dismiss it as nothing more than a well-intended play on words. If nothing else, it certainly got me thinking.

I thought of the fellow "Christians" who told my daughter that some friends of hers who are homosexual are going to burn in Hell, and wondered whether that helped her friends get any closer to God. While I certainly don't condone their lifestyle, I have no right to judge them or condemn them to Hell when I am just as deserving of such a fate. Sin is sin, and we are all guilty.

I thought of my past failures, some quite big and ugly, and how some "Christians" met me with condemnation and some with compassion. I know where I felt the presence of God the most.

I don't doubt that there is a Hell, and that it is a place that we all should avoid. However, I do believe that there is a big difference between going to Heaven and avoiding Hell.

And while I can never claim to fully comprehend God and His character, what I've read in the Bible has convinced me that rather than dangle me over Hell as a threat, He would prefer to welcome me with love and compassion.

The Lord is merciful and compassionate, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. - Psalm 145:8

Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you. - Ephesians 4:32

"...And while he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him. His son said to him, 'Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son. But his father said to the servants, 'Quick! Bring the finest robe in the house and put it on him. Get a ring for his finger and sandals for his feet. And kill the calf we have been fattening. We must celebrate with a feast, for this son of mine was dead and has now returned to life. He was lost, but now he is found.' So the party began." - Luke 15:20-22

No, reading my Bible doesn't scare the Hell out of me. It soothes the Heaven into me.

I hope you feel the same way.

Author's Bio: 

Humorist Will Rogers once observed, "There are three kinds of men - ones that learn by reading, a few who learn by observation, and the rest of them have to pee on the electric fence and find out for themselves."

Though he has never braved a real electric fence, Larry understands the above metaphor all too well. His life is more a series of clumsy learning experiences than a polished "how-to" manual.

Remarkably, God has called Larry to share these slices of imperfection and accumulated wisdom with readers from over thirty countries around the world - those fortunate souls who prefer to learn through reading and observation.

Larry's first book, Get the Prize, was published in 2003. He is currently writing his second book, expected to be released in 2010.

He lives in Canada with his wife and four children.

Click here to visit larryhehn.com