Brenda Nicholson

Is it Wrong if a Ten-Year-Old Decides She’s Going to Hell and She’s OK with That?

True story.

I was raised in a Pentecostal church. Lots of Old Testament preaching. Fire, brimstone, and the threat of hell were in every sermon.

God was someone to be feared; a supreme being who judged you.

As a kid, I didn’t think I was doing so well.

I was an only child, born late in life to two people who didn’t seem to know what to do with me. They certainly hadn’t been prepared for a baby, at least not a living one.

My mom was older and the doctors told her to expect the worst.

Maybe that’s why she was so nervous all the time. And maybe that’s why I had anxiety too.

My dad expected perfection from me, especially in school.

A report card with almost all A’s (and one B) was unacceptable. There would be a lecture regarding the lesser grade, but no mention of the others.

I distinctly remember coming home from church one Sunday afternoon and going into my bedroom to change.

I can recall standing at my dresser, putting things away, and thinking about going to hell.

In my ten-year-old mind, the thought of hell at the end of my life was preferable to living each day trying to be perfect and failing.

I knew that there was no pleasing my dad and I couldn’t be good enough for God either.

I didn’t want to live the rest of my life under that kind of pressure. So I decided not to.

That’s a huge decision for a young child, but I’ve never regretted it.

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