Is loving God motivated by fear of hell?

Is our love for God motivated more by our apprehension and fear of eternal damnation than a genuine love for the Lord? I can very well imagine this being the case for a lot of people, as I myself am feeling this way, since I do not have much of a personal relationship with Christ. I know that this weekend is hardly the time for such a question, but it is one on my mind. I hope you all enjoy this Easter weekend, that the Resurrection of Our Lord may enkindle you to renew yourselves as Catholics and to serve Him to our greatest possible extent!

God bless you and hail to the Cross, our only hope!

The love of God motivated by Hell is called imperfect contrition and while noble, it still falls short of PERFECT contrition which is hatred of sin due to it’s offended of God moved by the love of God. I am certainly not bragging, but my hatred of my sins and my motivation for confession within the last few months has taken on more of a perfect contrition mode and I am ever thankful because for YEARS my confessions were more of imperfect contrition.

I’m still a work in progress but all of our hatred of sin should be first and foremost because it offends our loving God. Be blessed!:slight_smile:

I wish I could, as I haven’t gone to Mass in a few months, I feel no desire to go to Confession, I constantly fall to temptation. I feel like I’m drifting from the faith and I’d say if it wasn’t for fear of hell, I might have already abandoned the faith.

Fear of hell can be an important first step but it should not be the main or only reason why we love G-d. For many Jews, it is not so much fear of hell as fear of oblivion; but this is based on a similar idea. We can eventually learn to love G-d for His blessings, as well as to love and care for others because it is the right thing to do, and not for fear that G-d will punish us if we do not obey his commands. But this takes time, study, practice, and prayer. It is a lifetime’s work in progress for most people.

It probably depends on the person. For many people hell is a concept not easily grasped so they don’t. For me the act of contrition says it best.

“Oh my God, I am heartily sorry of having offended you. I detest all my sins because I dread the loss of heaven and the pains of hell, but most of all, because they offend you O Lord who are all good and deserving of all my love.”

It is like a child obeying their parent, they do indeed fear a punishment, but they also love their parent and don’t want to disappoint them.

Later on, when the child grows up, they realize their parent was right after all and concerned only with their welfare.

I think the two can go hand in hand. Hell wouldn’t be brought up so much in the bible if it wasn’t something to be feared. I think it is fine to look at it as a source of motivation. If you do what you can to avoid it, you are also doing things that please God, which in turn get you closer to Him.

What helps me avoid using hell as the only motivation is this analogy: You see a load of dirty laundry. You have 2 options.

  1. You can wait around until your parents tell you to do it and do the laundry because your parents will ground you if you don’t.
  2. You can do the laundry without asking because you know how much it will mean to your parents and it will show them show much you love them.

I have never been very afraid of hell, though I certainly would not like to end up there. I suppose this lack of fear came about because I grew up in a Carmelite cloister. I’ve learned to nurture an intimately personal relationship with Christ since I was four or five years old. Like Saint Therese of Lisieux, I trust in the mercy of God so completely that were my life filled with sin, I would still run to Jesus and trust he would receive me with open arms.

Sometimes we behave in school and study and do our homework because we fear the punishment if we do not. That’s certainly better than refusing to behave and study and do our homework, but it’s not the best reason. The best reason is because we want to be a good person and we truly want to learn.

God desires that all humans come to him out of love, but I don’t think this is possible unless one has a personal relationship with Christ. If you want to advance to doing good out of love for God, nurture your personal relationship with Christ in any way that resonates with you - formal prayer, contemplation, lectio divina, Bible study, etc.

The fear of hell is a start, but true love for God is motivated by a desire to spend eternity with him.

God bless.

I love God because He created me and gave me life, not because I fear hell. God is kind and merciful.

Well, I certainly don’t cotton to the idea of Hell and would rather avoid it by any means necessary. On the other hand, if there is such a being as God, He’s worth knowing and worth loving. I don’t claim to understand Him fully, but desperately wish to. More often than not, I feel as if I’ve been left to my own imperfect devices to figure Him out and how He ought to be approached/worshipped … which is a recipe for Hell if anything is.

To the extent I have any hope, it’s that I recognize God as something worth knowing, understanding, and loving. I can’t claim that my blurred perceptions are likely to be much help, but I hope that He’ll one day vouchsafe me the grace needed to bridge that particular gap. I don’t know that He will, but there’s no harm in hoping or wishing. I don’t know whether I love Him for all the right reasons, but I acknowledge that one ought to love Him for what & who He is. God send us all grace to do so.

I can’t say I’ve ever had the personal relationship you have with Christ because if I did, I wouldn’t know what it felt like. So when someone explains that I need a personal relationship with Christ, I find it hard to imagine what that would be like. I’ve only considered God as very distant, not someone I should have a relationship with; the Islamic concept of a distant God is more relatable in my own instance.

I’m not sure if its a fear etc , might be for some ,
But I personally feel a strong attraction to God and my faith ,
And I can assure you I’m not a worthy soul …
But I still have a strong yearning to be close to God ,
That why I try to Pray as much as I can ,
I still fail even on that

I commend you for the fact that you have a yearning for God and do so earnestly in your prayer. Unfortunately, reflecting on my own faith, I’m beginning to wonder whether or not I had genuine faith at all. I can’t honestly say I ever had the yearning people have for God and if I did, it was done so out of fear of hell and not out of love for Christ. I’m losing the battle for my faith at the moment, if I haven’t lost it already or whether I ever had it all.


Sacred Heart of Jesus - (St Margaret-Mary Alacoque)

Jesus to St Margaret-Mary Alacoque -

**"Behold this Heart which has loved men so much that it has spared nothing, even to exhausting **(Crucifixion) and consuming itself (Last Supper, Eucharist) in order to testify to them it’s love."

Please continue to next post -

Jesus to St. Faustina -
Remember My Passion, and if you do not believe My words, at least believe My wounds. (Diray, 379)

Please continue to next post -

Divine Mercy Image - St. Faustina

Jesus to St. Faustina -

"My Heart is full of love and mercy. In order that you may know at least some of My pain, imagine the most tender of mothers who has great love for her children, while those children spurn her love. Consider her pain. No one is in a position to console her. This is but a feeble image and likeness of My love." (Diary, 1447)

"My daughter, know that My Heart is mercy itself. From this sea of mercy, graces flow out upon the whole world. No soul that has approached Me has ever gone away unconsoled. All misery gets buried in the depths of My mercy, and every saving and sanctifying grace flows from this fountain…" (Diary, 1777).

"My Heart overflows with great mercy for souls, and especially for poor sinners. If only they could understand that I am the best of Fathers to them and that it is for them that the Blood and Water flowed from My Heart as from a fount overflowing with mercy. For them I dwell in the tabernacle as King of Mercy. I desire to bestow My graces upon souls, but they do not want to accept them. You, at least, come to Me as often as possible and take these graces they do not want to accept. In this way you will console My Heart. Oh, how indifferent are souls to so much goodness, to so many proofs of love! My heart drinks only of the ingratitude and forgetfulness of souls living in the world. They have time for everything, but they have no time to come to Me for graces." (Diary, 367).

"My mercy is greater than your sins and those of the entire world. Who can measure the extent of my goodness? For you I descended from heaven to earth; for you I allowed myself to be nailed to the cross; for you I let my Sacred Heart be pierced with a lance, thus opening wide the source of mercy for you. Come, then, with trust to draw graces from this fountain. I never reject a contrite heart." (Diary, 1485).

"Tell sinful souls not to be afraid to approach Me; speak to them of My great mercy" (Diary, 1396).

"Come and confide in your God, who is love and mercy…My child, listen to the voice of your merciful Father" (Diary, 1486).

How to Pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy -

"…when you go to confession, to this fountain of My mercy, the Blood and Water which came forth from My Heart always flows down upon your soul and ennobles it. Every time you go to confession, immerse yourself entirely in My mercy, with great trust, so that I may pour the bounty of My grace upon your soul. When you approach the confessional, know this, that I myself am waiting there for you. I am only hidden by the priest, but I myself act in your soul. Here the misery of the soul meets the God of mercy. Souls draw graces solely with the vessel of trust. If their trust is great, there is no limit to My generosity. The torrents of grace inundate humble souls." (Diary, 1603).

I hope this has helped

May God Bless You

Thank you for reading

I know the feeling you have ,
I’v had that at times, it’s all part of it ,
But I feel I have a genuine yearning …
Like a magnetic force ,
Praying alone doesn’t help everyone ,
I’d like to Recommend a book for you ,
Google this book " Sergie "
A Russian Cristian story , if you can’t find it then P M me ,
And I’ll find it for you …
I will be away for this next week , no internet ,

You need to speak to a priest ASAP. Christ still loves you and is waiting for you with open arms. Happy Easter!

You might be right, but I felt very little during the Easter Sunday Mass this morning and what one member previously posted on this thread. I have grown far too pessimistic I believe, maybe I was deluding myself to believe that I was believing at all. Who knows, but the faith is definitely swaying.

Many great saints also felt such distance from God and in their worship. You are not alone.

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