Revelation 21:6-8,” And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment. (7) The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son. (8) But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”
What kind of people will populate Hell? Or, more precisely, the Lake of Fire? The answer would surprise most people. The Apostle John lists some of them here:
- People who practice detestable things
- Sexually immoral
I don’t pretend to know exactly what each of these items mean. Sorcerers, for example. What is that? A witch perhaps, or a practitioner of some black art, a Satan worshiper? But I have a hunch that this category also includes more subtle things as well. What are the detestable? They are fundamentally people who are detestable to God. Idolaters, murderers. Then the faithless. We overcome the world by our faith in Christ, though we do not see Him, we love Him. We believe His Word. Not so the faithless. They must be hands on or they will have none of it.
But do you know who else will end in hell? It’s at the top of the list: cowards. Let me translate that for you: nice guys. Nice people are at the top of the Lord’s “do not enter” list. Nice, you see, is much different than loving. Nice people make everyone happy. Nice people are popular. Nice people…. let us do whatever we want. Nice preachers tickle our ears. So the masses like them.
Oh, but don’t ever count on Mr. Nice Guy to back you when you are in trouble. That would require him to take sides, and that is something he simply cannot do. Nice precludes such a thing from him. Nice people, you see, are cowards. They really aren’t nice at all. They are incredibly selfish. It’s all about them and their reputation.
Which brings me to my point. What kind of a pastor do you want? When churches are looking for a pastor, how do they evaluate the candidates? (By the way, there has to be a much better way to call a pastor than the standard resume cut followed by interview followed by preaching a few times and answering a few questions. No wonder we are in the mess we are). Most people want a pastor who is “nice.” I know some people who absolutely loved their first pastor because he always gave candy to the children. The children “loved” him. So the parents were happy. It was all so, “nice.” People want a pastor who will pat them on the back, tell them how well they are doing, hold their hand in a hard time, and pronounce them saved at their funeral. But a real Christian detests such things. Christ’s true sheep hunger and thirst for God’s Word.
Let me burst the bubble. The reason many of you have been so sorely treated with gross injustice at the hands of your churches is because the leadership is sooooo, “nice.” That’s the problem. They are nice to everyone, including your abuser. Nice people just want to smooth out the rough spots so all can go on as it always has. Fine for them. Not fine for you. And guess what? These nice guys turn out to be not so nice at all to victims or anyone who tells them “hey, you have wickedness in your church here week after week. You need to expose and confront it.”
You see, in the end, we don’t need nice guys as pastors and elders. We don’t even need them as friends. What we need for a pastor or elder is a just and righteous judge who refuses to show partiality. A man who hungers and thirsts for righteousness and who is willing to stand with the weak and oppressed even if it costs him his job. Think about it. Let’s say that some wicked person commits some gross evil against one of your children. What kind of a judge do you want when the evil man is brought to trial? Judge Nice? You know you don’t. You want justice, not nice. Because justice is right.
Jesus is not nice. The Son of God is everything His Father is, and He has been appointed the Judge of all men, living and dead. He is not going to be nice on that Day. He will be loving toward His own. But He will not be “nice” toward the wicked. EVERY deed, EVERY word will be judged.
So, if your church has leaders who give out candy, whom everyone just absolutely loves, who are known in the community as the nicest guy ever known…. well, good luck to you on the day you go to such a man seeking justice for and rescue from your abuser. Such cases require a Jesus who charges into the Temple, whip in hand. Not a nice guy. Not a…. coward.