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The Empty Houses Of Hell

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In his book The Great Divorce, C. S. Lewis, the great Christian apologist, draws a stark picture of hell. Hell is like a great, vast city, Lewis says, a city inhabited only at its outer edges, with rows and rows of empty houses in the middle. These houses in the middle are empty because everyone who once lived there has quarreled with the neighbors and moved. Then, they quarreled with the new neighbors and moved again, leaving the streets and the houses of their old neighborhoods empty and barren.

That, Lewis says, is how hell has gotten so large. It is empty at its center and inhabited only at the outer edges, because everyone chose distance instead of honest confrontation when it came to dealing with their relationships. “Look, she’s the one who said that about me. Let her come and apologize!”

“We may go to the same church, but that doesn’t mean I’ve got to share a pew with that so-and-so!”

“It’ll be a cold day in July before I accept his apology.” That’s all well and good, I suppose… if you don’t mind living in hell.Are we really so willing to give up our relationships with others – relationships that have come about and been forged by our desire to follow Jesus? Nowhere, and I do mean nowhere, in the New Testament gospels will you find Jesus saying that the first order of things is always to be right. But he does have a great deal to say about forgiveness, about relationships, about reconciliation, about service and humility and vulnerability. A God NoticeJesus makes it sound like family, doesn’t he? Special thanks to Randy Hyde

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