Souvenirs of Hell
C.S. Lewis made this profound statement in his book, The Great Divorce: “If we accept Heaven, we shall not be able to retain even the smallest and most intimate souvenirs of Hell.” Not only do I agree wholeheartedly with Mr. Lewis, but I’m in awe of how much more true today these words are then when they were penned.
I’m concerned about this generation. And when I’m concerned, I go to God’s Word. I’ve heard it said, “God’s Word is more relevant than tomorrow’s newspaper.” True. And I’ll add, it’s also more important than Twitter or Facebook posts (and opinions).
My concern has to do with the “souvenirs of Hell” we complacently hold on to with disregard of what God thinks. For example, before giving my heart to Christ, I cussed like a sailor. In fact, I always say I never heard myself cuss until after becoming a Christian. What I mean is, I never heard the ugliness of it until after I sensed the grief of the Holy Spirit within me. But what if I had disregarded the nudging of the Holy Spirit and kept my sailor’s mouth? Isn’t that a souvenir of Hell (my former lost self)?
Two scriptures come to mind. The first is 1 Timothy 4:1-2, which says, “But the [Holy] Spirit distinctly and expressly declares that in latter times some will turn away from the faith, giving attention to deluding and seducing spirits and doctrines that demons teach, through the hypocrisy and pretensions of liars whose consciences are seared (cauterized)” (AMPC). And the other is from Paul’s encouragement to the Ephesians: “And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others. But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:1-7).
The Holy Spirit was given to us as a counselor and helper. When we ignore the nudges of the Spirit, our consciences can actually become seared (or cauterized) from hearing Him anymore. My son was in a bad fire a few years ago and has scars from skin grafting on his arms and legs. Those places don’t have the same feeling as the rest of his body anymore — they’ve been seared. Our heart functions the same way.
And this is why it’s good to remember where we started — lost, full of trespasses, disobedient, conducting ourselves in every whim of our flesh, and far from God. BUT GOD (don’t you just love those two words?) in His mercy, rescued us from the grip of Hell when we surrendered our heart to Him. He made us alive in Christ and saved us! Now, what do you suppose God thinks about the souvenirs we insist on keeping from our former life?
I have met people who fight tooth and nail to justify why they have the right to live how they want, while claiming to be Christ-like. I don’t understand it. Thus, my concern.
I daily have to lay things down and resist temptations that arise from my old self. I have to repent when I yield to pride or ugly thoughts. Jesus said the way to eternal life (Heaven) is a narrow road and there’s not room for all those things. But He also warned of the other road. “You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way. But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it” (Matthew 7:13-14). In other words, just because the crowd can fit on the wide road doesn’t mean you should be traveling on it or imitating them.
I pray our eyes are opened to what we’re carrying with us as we pursue the narrow road in Christ, and that we’re wise enough to drop whatever offends. I believe Heaven will be worth the sacrifice.
This article was written by Daphne Delay who is an author, speaker, and podcaster with a passion to help this generation discover who they are in Christ. She is the author of Facing the Mirror, Facing the Enemy, and Facing God. Daphne also blogs nuggets of spiritual growth and encouragement regularly at