I wish I could believe that getting into heaven was as simple as doing acts of random kindness, treating others with respect and dignity and being a good person who did a lot of good for everybody I met. I wish that my good deeds would stacked against my bad deeds and the scales tip in the favor of the good. Actually for me, it would better if I could believe there was no heaven and no hell so I wouldn’t have to worry about how I behaved. But for me it is not possible. My Savior had His sights on me from a young age and I was His.
We all want to believe that those we knew who died have moved onto heaven. I hear the comment all the time, “I know they are in heaven watching down on me and smiling at me, encouraging me as I live my life.” I just can’t reconcile this way of hope with the way of hope that Jesus preached. He did preach a lot of being better people and love thy neighbor, but He seemed to also preach that it was not possible to practice His preaching without first submitting to God through faith. I think what happens is we confuse the meaning. Jesus did not stop at outward acts of kindness, He emphasized that these outward acts had no value if the inner thoughts were not in line. If we still thought that bad things about people then the acts of good did not matter as much.
We, as a race, cherry-pick the teachings of the bible. We want to take what makes us comfortable and adapt those concepts to our lives. The other parts that we don’t want to agree with, we can just ignore the meaning and say it doesn’t apply to us, or just ignore it. But Jesus said a lot of things that make me uncomfortable. A lot of things I do not want to accept or practice. But if I am to accept that He was resurrected from the dead then I have to accept all that He taught, especially when He taught that He is the only way into Heaven. And I have to accept that what He said is not religion or a series of religious rituals, it’s faith in Him and my belief that He came to die, sent by His Father, for my sins.
It does not matter what I choose to think or believe. It does not matter how if I change God into the image I want and change what His standard so it is one I can meet. My sin outweighs any good I do on my own ability, and I cannot get around that fact.