My Family Thinks I Am Going to Hell
In several prominent Christian religious institutions, it is believed that any spiritual practice or experience which doesn't fit within their theological construct of the Holy Bible can result in eternal damnation in Hell.
In these well-intentioned congregations, people are taught that the most loving expression that they can make is to want to "save" their loved ones from experiencing eternal damnation. The concern and love is sincere and deeply authentic. The most important conversations that they will ever have is when they are discussing the condition of their loved one's soul and sharing the need and necessary steps to "be saved".
When a family member says, "I am concerned for your soul", I have learned to hear past the imperfect articulation and to recognize the authentic expression. What they are really saying is, "I love you. I care about you. You are worth my time & energy to care and to be concerned enough to pray for you ... and even to risk offending you to have the most important loving and meaningful conversation in this lifetime".
You don't have to like how they express their love. We all have said things that we don't mean, while the emotion, passion and deeper sentiments were all very real. We can all use a little grace. Who doesn't need to know somebody cares enough to spend the time and energy to send love in the most meaningful way they know?
Thankfully, The Divine Mind knows our intentions.
Chances are that you know the real intentions of your religious family members and friends.
Choosing to be offended only burns bridges. Everyone loses.
Grace makes a way for love to prevail even when there are sincere differences in beliefs and understandings.
We are all doing the very best we can to find our way.