Hell, the land of fire, brimstone and eternal suffering and torment. Many people nowadays, due to the lack of responsibility, values and the like, purposefully forget or outright ignore the reality that Hell exists. Sin exists, and it is easier to find yourself in Hell, than in heaven after you die. Why is it that there are those that deny such an existence? The answer: It produces feelings of shame, guilt and other harsh emotions that we as creatures of instinct find difficult to cope with. Why? Because it conflicts with the lifestyle of those that live their lives, not through the example of Jesus Christ and his Apostles, rather they "do their own thing" according to their will as opposed to the will of God. They refuse the straight and narrow path for the sake of comfort and blissful ignorance.

Many go so far as to lie to themselves and say that Jesus would approve of that lifestyle simply due to the fact that he hung around sinners, or that they are under the impression that "so long as I'm a 'good person', I'll go to heaven". Well, what qualifies an individual as being inherently "good"? Is it simply the lack of evil actions committed? Is it the fact that they may have never done harm to another individual throughout their lives? Or is their willfulness to repent and imitate the actions (not just the words) of Jesus? I would say that the latter is true, simply due to the fact that being a "good person" is not a definite state. Do you think that just because you've never killed anyone, or committed acts of unspeakable evil, you're automatically a good person undeniably worthy of heaven? If you answered yes, you have a lot to learn about the reality of sin and temptation.

What most people are misinformed on is how sin and temptation presents itself. Now keep in mind, the devil doesn't appear as a goat-headed scaly embodiment of pure evil, he appears at the very thing you desire. What you want most from this world. Sexual gratification, wealth, power, status, influence, happiness, etc. I have stated in previous articles that it is irresponsible and outright meaningless to pursue such personal pleasures, and experiences as though such actions or desires were some sort of moral imperative. Such things are of no consequence, and more often than not they lead us away from God's grace. To put it bluntly, just because something may feel good i.e. sex, power, influence etc. does not mean they are always moral; and just because you may believe yourself to be a "good person" doesn't mean that those actions are justifiable. The greatest sin is not necessarily the sin in of itself, rather the justification thereof.

Likewise, one may believe a long gone family member i.e. a parent, a grandparent, aunt, uncle, close friend, etc. is in heaven when in reality, there is no possible way of knowing, until we ourselves have passed the final judgment. Plain and simple, those individuals may be in Heaven, or they may be in Hell. I myself would like to think that my father who passed into the next world made it into heaven, yet the sad truth is, I have no way of knowing where he is. I can only pray for his soul and hope he was made worthy of heaven (and we must be worthy to make it there). In which case, objectively speaking the use of the phrase "Happy Birthday in Heaven" is just emotional self-flattery. Again, there's no way of knowing where they are. Only God knows for certain and wish fulfillment is a logical fallacy.

Why else would the Son of the living God come down from heaven to be tortured, spat upon, condemned by his own people and publicly executed, if not to provide a road map to be freed from sin, that we are free to either follow or reject of our own free will. If you feel guilty of something you have done or failed to do, or you're ashamed of past actions, that is what confession is for: To relieve yourself of the weights and burdens of sin, not to pass premature judgment on you. Confession offers the chance to be free from regret, from guilt and the soul-destroying confines of sin by means of penance. It allows you to repent and make up for past actions, as well as take responsibility for those actions/inactions. In other words, from the confessional booth, comes a fresh start, and with a fresh start, we are one step closer to heaven. Though be warned, with a clear conscience, comes greater susceptibility to temptation and the eternal struggle between logical reasoning and the will of God, vs. emotional comforts and the temptations of sin.