In his book, The Screwtape Letter, C. S. Lewis makes this insightful statement, “Indeed the safest road to Hell is the gradual one—the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts.” I cannot agree more. That is what I have seen in the personal and collective body of Jesus Our Lord. A little misstep here, a little deviation there, all lead to a major break from the heart of God, and end at the heart of Hell, without fanfare.
We do not usually declare war on God; we know it is too dangerous to do so. What we do instead is tiptoeing away from God, giving a good excuse why we cannot do this or that, while making earnest promises to be or to do better. We think He does not hear us when we tiptoe away from Him, but He knows. He hears us walking away from Him and He knows when our hearts no longer yearn for Him.
Sadly, this can happen not only to us as a person but also to us as a church or a Christian organization. It saddens me to see or to hear folks that I know succumb to sin. They fell so deeply that makes me wonder how that could ever happen. But then I am reminded that the road to Hell is always “a gradual one” and a quiet one. And one more adjective, the road to Hell is always a lonely one. At the start it always looks a lovely one but, in the end, it will be a lonely one.
In his book, The Church Awakening, Pastor Chuck Swindoll keeps using the word “erosion” to describe the decaying process that plagues a lot of churches today. In this book he spends a lot of time talking about the professionalization of ministry that has eroded the true meaning and work of ministry. If I may add one more on the list, it is the impure motive of the ministry’s leaders—not wholly for Our Blessed Savior but rather for our vested interests and benefits. So, watch out for the small and innocent steps away from the Cross.