Every time a little child is unwanted, unloved, uncared for, no dream, doesn’t think it’s worth it to finish an education—hell is prevailing. That’s a lie of hell.
Every time a marriage—that began with a man and woman making a promise as they looked into each other’s eyes—ends, crashes and burns—that’s hell prevailing. That’s not the way God said it’s supposed to be.
Every time racial differences divide, make ugly, a street, a neighborhood, a city, a church, a community, and there is this distrust, suspicion, oppression—that’s hell prevailing.
Every time money gets idolized, worshiped, allowed to determine somebody’s worth, someone’s value, somebody’s security, somebody’s dream—that’s hell prevailing.
Every time a lie gets told and truth gets trampled on—that’s hell prevailing.
Every time generations of people get separated, isolated—that’s hell prevailing.
Every time a workplace becomes dehumanizing or fear-based instead of releasing the potential of the image of God in every human being—that’s hell prevailing.
When families get broken up, when virtue gets torn down, when sinful habits create a life of hidden shame or a culture of shamelessness, when faith gets undermined and lost, when hope gets trampled on, when people get trashed, hell is prevailing.
And it is not acceptable to Jesus that hell prevail; it is not okay. And our job is not to meet a budget, it’s not to run a program, it’s not to fill a building, it’s not to maintain the status quo, it’s not to keep any traditions perpetuated.
Our job is to put hell out of business.
That’s why Jesus went to the cross on Friday, that’s why he lay in the tomb on Saturday, that’s why he was raised to life on Sunday. It is why we proclaim Christ, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom so that we may present everyone mature, redeemed, complete, whole, healed, in Christ.
– John Ortberg, “One From the Heart,” Menlo Park Presbyterian Church, May 28, 2011.