The other day I was talking to a guy about what it means to be a Christian. You know, the standard difficulties. "It means being good." "I mean, why would God allow bad things to happen?" "How is it fair for God to send people to hell who never heard about Jesus?" The regular mistakes and objections.

The difficultly (for me) is that there are answers. The problem is that they are not generally emotionally satisfying. I mean, which feels better? "I worked hard and got into heaven" or "By grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast" (Ephesians 2:8-9)? Well,of course it feels better to think you've made it yourself. Or how satisfying is it to hear "God allows pain and suffering and evil so that His glory will be fully displayed"? Because, after all, it's all about us and what's with this megalomaniac God of yours?

I was particularly struck by this "It's not fair!" complaint. As if God is obligated to save people. As if there is some reason that God would need to save anyone. As if anyone at all goes to hell because they didn't trust Christ1. Fair? You want fair? Fair would be eternal damnation for every single one of us. Fair would be receiving what we have each and every one of us earned -- a one way ticket to hell. Don't talk to me about fair. I do not want fair. I want grace -- receiving favor I don't deserve. I want mercy -- not receiving the punishment I so greatly deserve. Fair? Don't give me fair.

But, again, that's not an emotionally satisfying answer. It doesn't make the skeptic feel better. And in the Age of Empathy in which we live, how we feel defines reality (most of the time). So truth is out, fair is defined by however we choose, and God is still in hot water. I don't know how He's going to work His way out of this mess He's in. I don't know how because I can't see any of it myself.

1Note: No one goes to hell because they didn't trust Christ. They earn eternal death. "The wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23). Like a person who is bitten by a snake but doesn't take the anti-venom. They don't die from failing to take the anti-venom. They die from the snakebite.