Coptic Orthodox Diocese of the Southern United States
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Among the unbelievers, outside the Church, I have many friends. Those friends do not believe in God, and the logical consequences are that they will not share in the partaking of heaven if they keep this up. You may have had the question, "Will unbelievers, even if they are good people go to hell?" I know the answer as it is explained in the Bible, and many times by church leaders. When I think that the people I love will go to hell, I get mentally upset. I fail at preaching to them to direct onto the right path, and therefore, I say to myself that they, themselves, want to choose this path. I feel this mental pain knowing that my friends will someday suffer for an eternity. Somehow, I think that they do not want to choose the wrong path, but they are blinded by the lust of this earth and their eyes will only be opened if they find themselves in Satan’s when it is to late.

It is not a coincidence that you are in circles of unbelievers. God allowed you to be there for a good reason. Your priority, or if you wish to call it, your job, is to be “light” and “salt” in this world that is full of sin and darkness. The way you live your life, conduct yourselves in all situations, fast and worship God, serve others regardless of their faith, ethnicity, or circumstances is a testimony of Christ in your life and your faith in Him. Thus, the Bible will have been evangelized to each of them through you, as a person. All people have a free will. God is anguished by their refusal to believe and repent, but He does not give up one anyone. Demas, the thief on the right of Christ during the crucifixion, believed, repented, and confessed his faith. Thus, the promise to enter the paradise of joy with Christ was fulfilled. The other part of your pain over their ultimate destination is answered by asking and praying to God for His mercy on all of us. We are weak, whether believers or unbelievers. However, the believers know to return, repent, and confess their sins for absolution. God is merciful and causes the sun to shine on the just and the sinners. God does not give up on anyone. He did not give up on St. Paul, or on St. Moses the strong, or on St. Mary of Egypt, or on St. Paesa, or on many of the saints that we commemorate in the Synaxarion. He did not forget about St. Pachoum, who was born to pagan parents, but later converted and became known all over the world as the "Father of the Coenobitic Life" (Koinonia). Pray for your friends and imitate Christ in everything you do, so that by seeing you and knowing you, they will come to know Christ, and will glorify your heavenly Father.

“You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.

'You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven'" (Matthew 5:13-16).
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