"He answered, 'Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my father's house, for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.' "Abraham replied, 'They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.' Luke 16:27-29
Perhaps you heard about this story or saw it in a newspaper:
Gene and Paulette Cranick, of South Fulton, Tennessee, lost their home after officers were ordered by bosses not to extinguish it.
Fire fighters only arrived when the flames spread to the property of a neighbor, who had paid the fee. However, they continued to refuse to help the Cranicks.
Later the same day, the couple's 44-year-old son was arrested and charged with aggravated assault, after allegedly punching the local fire chief.
Jeff Vowell, the city manager of South Fulton, said: "It's a regrettable situation any time something like this happens." Mr Vowell explained that there was no county-wide fire service and it was too expensive for the city's officers to serve surrounding rural areas like the Cranicks' as well.
Rural residents can gain access to the service by paying the annual fee. But "if they choose not to," Mr Vowell said, "we can't make them".
Mr Cranick said: "I thought they'd come out and put it out, even if you hadn't paid your $75, but I was wrong." His wife said the couple had offered to pay the fire fighters whatever was necessary for them to extinguish the flames, but the officers refused.
However they do not blame the officers themselves, she said. "They're doing what they are told to do. It's not their fault." The Mayor of South Fulton, David Crocker, told local reporters: "We're very sorry their house burned."
However he too stood by the subscription policy, arguing that offering a pay-as-you-go service would mean upfront costs could not be met.
About three hours after the fire began, Mr. Cranick's son Timothy allegedly arrived at the South Fulton fire station demanding to see Mr. Wilds the fire chief.
It is alleged that when Mr. Wilds came forward and asked if he could help, Mr Cranick punched him. "He just cold-cocked him," Mr. Crocker reported.
Weird story isn’t it? You could say that it isn’t right and it isn’t fair, but it was the rule and it was understood and they ignored the rule. So, if they knew the rule and they ignored the rule and then the rule was enforced, whose fault was it that their house burned down?
In the same way, people say, “A loving God wouldn’t send people to Hell."
A fire department wouldn't let a house burn down either, right?
We live in a world that clings to fairness and there are those who are determined to make all of life fair.
First of all, it is impossible to make everything fair. Second, what is fair? Third, who decides?
Life isn't about fairness it is about facts and faith. You need to decide what is true and then trust that truth to guide your life and your eternity.
The fire department operated under the rules established by the duly elected authorities and those rules were published - if you want to be guaranteed fire protection you must pay an annual fee of $75. It really doesn't matter if it is fair or not it is the facts. Theory or opinion doesn't save your house. Obeying the law will. There is a price to be paid.
God ruled that there is a price to be paid for sin. Sin separates you from a Holy God. That sin problem must be dealt with before you die or you will be eternally separated from God. That is what hell is. The price for dealing with sin is death.
Jesus died to take the penalty and pay the price for your sins. You can accept that provision by accepting Him and trusting Him as your Savior. When you make that faith decision your sins are forgiven and you enter into a relationship with God and you receive eternal life.
So, is it really fair that the Cranicks house wasn't saved by the fire department? Actually - yes!
Was it the firemen who doomed their house? Actually - no!
Is it a loving God Who sends people to hell? Never!