10 Ways to Stop Feeling Guilty Your Friend Is Going to Hell

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If you're tired of feeling guilty for not sharing your faith in Christ, this list might be for you.

Editor’s Note: This poignant satire by Brian Jones points out some of the ways we put evangelism in the backseat. We hope you’ll read it with the tongue-in-cheek voice that Brian intended. We also hope it will serve as a bold reminder to share the good news today.  

1. Here’s the easiest one: Stop being a part of a church that truly teaches the Bible.

Especially the parts that make you feel bad for the low number of times you have personally shared your faith. After all, the purpose of going to church is just to make you feel good. Right?

2. Find a church that makes you feel like you’re doing evangelism, but never actually encourages you to do it.

Usually this falls under the heading of “getting involved in giving back to the community.” Because that’s why Jesus died on the cross. So we could “give back to the community.”

3. Never, under any circumstances, pray for your non-Christian friends to accept Christ.

At least not more than once. That would be creepy and fanatical.

4. Stop reading the gospels in your daily time with God.

Jesus constantly talked about the afterlife, especially hell. Let’s be honest: It’s pretty tiring to have to keep shielding your eyes from those verses while hunting for the gems that talk about how you can be happy and successful.

5. Lie to yourself when you feel a twinge of guilt for not sharing your faith by repeating this phrase:

“Evangelism is God’s (and my pastor’s) job. My job is to be a good example.”

Brian Jones I’m the founding Senior Pastor of Christ’s Church of the Valley in the suburbs of Philadelphia. In 13 years the church has grown from a small group in my home to over 2,000 incredible people. Before that I served in churches of 25 to 600 in attendance. I love church planters and pastors of smaller churches, and totally understand the difficult challenges they face as they try to help people find their way back to God.

More from Brian Jones or visit Brian at http://brianjones.com

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  • tobi

    3 Ways to Start Being Polemical: 1) Be disdaining. Don’t take people serious who have honest intellectual questions concerning the topic of hell and punishment. Mock them, they are just wimps. 2) Oversimplify. Pretend that there is only one theological view on this topic: exclusivism. Everything else really is a copout from what the Bible clrearly teaches. 3) Be insensitive and pastorally weak. Pretend that there were never any Christians who were crushed by the unhealthy sense of guilt and were driven into psychological problems and suicide. – What a disturbing article!

    • Pete

      Three MORE “excuses”! Tobi, Brian wrote this for YOU!

      • tobi

        Excuses for what – I am an inner city church planter active in Evangelism both through friendships and special evangelistic activities. Just for your information… :)

  • Joe McKeever

    Good. Thank you.

  • Always Wondering

    Tobi is right on here. I find the worst evangelists are the ones who have this false guilt about sharing their faith. Instead of relying on the Holy Spirit they act on the guilt and in the flesh. The motivation is rarely love. Without the mutual respect of love people just feel preached at because that is what is really happening to them.

    I was misled by the title of this article. When I teach on how to share the gospel one of the first things I work on dispelling in believers is the false guilt they have about sharing their faith. This article just piles more guilt on. And the guilty are always, always bad evangelists.

  • Mark

    Right on Brian.

    Even Penn Jillette (of Penn & Teller fame), an avowed atheist, gets this. If you really, truly believe that people who do not trust Jesus Christ will go to hell, how can you NOT tell them and then say you love them?

  • tahleagle

    LOVE! I believe many think in different terms about LOVE. numerous have difficulty of differentiating physical love for the inner sense of being loved. I suspect at one time or another we have a great feeling of love for the opposite sex, often it was collimated in marriage. That said, the love of one’s religion is also a feel good, or at least it should be, but many can’t see the forest for the tree’s. You really have to practice to be loved. Walking thru the church door is not practice, but it’s a start. Sitting like a dummy on the back pew, never picking up a hymnal or placing your pocket change in the plate is not love. Love is a two way street. You must love to ..BE LOVED ! Try it, the feeling is great.

  • Michael

    I know folks, many parents especially, who do feel extreme guilt because their loved ones are on a path to Hell. They’ve witnessed with words and lifestyle. They attend outreach focused churches. But their loved ones, their children, do not know God. They feel guilt for not doing ‘enough’. They feel guilty for ‘going wrong’ somewhere. Yeah, I too think the title of this article was misleading. I was looking for some words to encourage those…or sometimes to encourage me because of my family. This does seem to heap burning coals on those that are already struggling.

  • Charles T Compton

    Yes —- Teach the truth— that would be a novel thing to do. The teachings of
    humans burning in hell for all eternity came from the bishops of the Roman Empire in order to make money. They know very little about the teachings of the Hebrews. And even though we are under a different covenant than the Old Testament, God never taught anything about burning in fire for all eternity. The penalty for not following God is DEATH — not eternal life —–in torment! —- The entire teaching that man IS an immortal soul is a lie. The
    teachings about going to heaven or hell after you die is a lie; God tells us
    when you die you are or go to sleep and with Him — in His memory —- waiting for the resurrection—- when God can re-create you again. And if God has not called AND CHOSEN you this time around you will come up in the 2nd Resurrection (Rev. 20:1-6 talks about
    the 1st resurrection) (Rev. 20:7-15 tells us about the 2nd Resurrection)
    and that resurrection (the 2nd) is back to PHYSICAL life where if —–when God teaches you ALL TRUTH—- if you don’t want anything to do with it He will then kill you by fire —however you will die—the 2nd death—-remember you already died the 1st death. That does not mean God will burn you in fire for all eternity. —–
    it is all too much of a subject to teach in less than 500 words. —- I suggest
    you keep studying your Bible and seeking God. He will lead you into ALL the
    TRUTH —- not the false teachings of Rome and this world.

    • Dave Ekstrom

      Brother, I disagree with you. I am convinced that the Bible speaks of everlasting torment. The Rich Man in Luke 16 was not annihilated. It’s just so easy to blame every doctrine you don’t like on Rome. But even if you hold annihilationism, do you think that eternal capital punishment is a good thing? Shift the argument the author is making. Say, “How to alleviate your guilt that your friend is facing eternal destruction.” Outside of academics, what has changed? Isn’t the point that Christ came to save us and we must share the Gospel for people to be saved? Isn’t the loss of eternal joy in heaven enough? The doctrine of hell is not one of the fundamentals of the faith. But salvation only in Christ is. So what’s your beef?

    • Eric

      You are mistaken. Bible is clear about eternal damnation. No need to even discuss it. Please read scriptures in its entirety.

  • Dave Ekstrom

    Wow!!!! I think this guy really believes the Gospel. More than I do. Ouch!!!!!!!!!!!! I want to say “Amen!” but all that comes out is, “Oh, me!!!”

  • David

    I have an even better way. Understand that we serve a sovereign God and only He has the power to save. Yes, we are called to be witnesses. But whether or not your friends/family end up in Heaven or Hell is not dependent on the effectiveness of your evangelism.

  • RetiredAirman

    Wonderful article. I may make it into a bulletin insert for Church.

  • In His ministry

    God is the one who draws them. Our responsibility is be faithful in sharing our faith through consistant Godly living and through our words. It is God’s Spirit who works in the life of your friend. I pray that He can use each one of us to help point the way to Christ. I pray that we are not the stumbling block.

    Good Tongue in cheek article.

  • Nicole

    I strongly disagree with this article. The title is misleading and does not relate to the points that were outlined.

  • Roy

    So many conflicting views. Maybe we should just hear Jesus’ LAST WORDS…..

    You will receive POWER to be My witnesses………..NO where does God say he has chosen certain people to GO TO HELL!…..nough said.

    To the editors: I think you have opened a can of worms offering postings that come from who knows who? Realize that much of the garbage that is “taught” by the comments, may lead many astray. Take heed!

    • David

      Yes, the power to be His witnesses. Not the power to regenerate someone’s spirit.

  • Reginald

    I disagree mostly with point 2; regarding evangelism, for this reason:

    Ephesians 4:11-12 ~ And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.

    I’m really not getting how people in the church are being shamefully led to believe that we all are called to evangelism, when God’s word says “some evangelists”. Maybe it is because so little of our leaders do not understand the difference between evangelism and witnessing. Maybe it is because so many of our leaders focus on numbers ( for their own purposes) in the church; knowing evangelism is directly tied to increasing the numbers to the church, so they deceive the body into thinking evangelism is everyone’s ministry; pressuring them to this effort.

    • ann

      We are ALL called to be a witness. We’re ALL ambassadors. Though not all may be preachers (on a pulpit), everybody should be sharing the Gospel to the people around him. This was also seen in the life of the early Christians (acts 11:19), wherever they’re scattered, they shared the Gospel. Our pastor’s job is to EQUIP us. Check out Eph.4.

      • Reginald

        Agreed, but witnessing and evangelism are NOT the same thing.

        • Cam

          How so? An evangel was a ‘bearer of glad tidings’ which is the role of all of us. The ascencion gift of evangelism is designed to edify- build up the church for the collective Task of evangelism

          • Reginald

            How so? Because it is what God’s word says…..

            Ephesians 4:11-12 ~ And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, SOME evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.

            All of the ministry offices the Lord appointed for the church in Ephesians 4:11-12 are for the edification and build up of the church. Look at the passage. If everyone is called to be evangelists, then everyone is likewise called to be apostles, prophets, pastors and teachers……….and we know that IS NOT true.

            Only some are called to be evangelists

            Evangelist – from the Greek word euaggelistēs; meaning preacher of the gospel

            However we all are called to be witnesses….

            Acts 1:8 ~ “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest parts of the earth”

            Witness – from the Greek word martureō; meaning testify, give testimony, give evidence.

            Evangelism specifically requires vocal and audible proclamation (preaching) the gospel; however witnessing can be done by either vocal testimony or by being showing the changing work of Christ in us.

            Evangelism calls for the lost to HEAR the proclaimed gospel of Jesus. Witnessing calls for one to SEE the presence and evidence of Jesus in us; being salt and light.

  • MRS. AWONIYI

    This article is not Spirit filled. Sermons should be straight-forward and Bible based. Retired Airman, this is not the type of article you should put in your bulletin, don’t discourage nor confuse members of your congregation.

    • Susan

      This is not a sermon, this is an article making an attempt to wake up people who call themselves Christians. But really only God can do that, but at least it will get them thinking. If you are offended by this article, it is time to repent.

  • Melody

    It is important to be obedient. We are called to share the gospel. We are called to be ready with an answer for people according to Peter. However the scripture is clear that we cannot save anyone. God alone does that.
    I understand where the article is coming from because I have friends that won’t share cause it isn’t their thing and they don’t want to come off as too religious. For that I would question more their destination. Jesus said He would stand with those that stood for Him.

  • Kat

    He is being sarcastic…. He is meaning if you don’t want to share the Gospel don’t bother finding a Shepard who challenges you to do so…. It’s Sooo true.

  • Lincy

    Brother, I like the way you challenged the so-called-christians to think about the guilt all of us may carry for not spreading the good news, if not directly, at least indirectly through Facebook or brochures.

    Go ye to the end of the world and preach the gospel…………was not to some but all.

    We are blessed that we have found grace in the eyes of God to be able to understand this truth. I wish to God that all will come to Heaven – not one soul will be lost.

    And I hope the readers will understand that you were triggering their thoughts of what will happen of us, if we have any concern to see our friends suffering in hell, when we enjoy heaven.

    If we do not care for them now? do we really care? then do we have love?
    If we do not love – we disobey the one and only commandment of God.

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