I disobeyed my parents plenty of times growing up. Of all the times I got in trouble, there were certain words I never wanted to hear. Those words were, “Just wait until your father gets home.” After hearing these words, my imagination ran wild. I now had hours and hours to think about how bad my punishment was going to be. I pondered about how my dad would react and how upset he would be with my poor decision.
John Endsley once said, “It is not the severity of punishment that acts as a deterrent. It is its inevitability.” What a true statement this is. Having gone through these punishments, I now realize they made me a much better person and caused me to think more about the correction actions I should take in the future.
Perhaps this is why the thought of hell is so terrifying (and motivating), and the thought of heaven is so blissful. Scripture makes it clear that hell is the inevitable punishment for those who do not follow God, and heaven is the coming reward for those who do (Romans 2:6-8; Revelation 21:1-27). It’s never fun to sit down and think about being punished. It’s especially unpleasant to think about an eternity spent in hell. However, there is possibly no greater deterrent to sin than the thought of hell as a punishment. Let’s remember how desperately we want to avoid hell and make sure we follow God instead.