A final guest post from Glenn Siepert, on his recent book!


Here’s my last post about my book, “Emerging From the Rubble” – a reflection on Matthew 7:13-14. If you’ve read the posts, thank you. As you can imagine, this book means the world to me. And if you find yourself navigating through your own loss and demolished Temple, my hope is that it can become a friend to you. Whether you believe in God or not or consider yourself a Christian or not … I don’t think it really matters because I think that whether it’s God or the Universe or our own inner knowing – I think that small inner voice can speak to us through these stories and leave us challenged, encouraged, and full of ideas about how to move forward.

May it be so.

A Threat?

A while back someone told me that I was walking down the wide road to hell. I don’t remember why or the context of the comment …

Was it the podcast episodes about the Gnostic Scriptures?

Or the one where I interviewed a medium?

My openness about using Tarot Cards to start off my day?

The fact that I find atonement theology unhelpful and useless?

… Who knows.

Whatever the case may be, this person stormed into my comment section to loudly announce that I was on the wide road to destruction, that I was taking the “easy” road (as opposed to the “hard road” of Jesus, I guess?), and that I was dragging countless people with me to the eternal fires.

I remember this person lobbing a bunch of Bible verse grenades at me, but the one they seemed to be the most stuck on was Matthew 7:13-14 because (in this person’s interpretation of the verse) HE was on the narrow road because HE was following the HARD road of Jesus where HE was giving up so much and HE was avoiding temptation and HE was reading his Bible every morning and HE was going to church every Sunday and HE was up to date on his confessions and HE was on this difficult road that very few have the amazingly deep faith to endure.

And me?

I’m (supposedly) over here giving into temptation, abandoning the Bible, ditching church, and having the audacity to enjoy my life, listen to my heart, follow my passions, and aim to live life to the fullest.

And so …

He’s following Jesus.

He’s on the narrow road.

He’s headed for life.

He’s headed for heaven.

And me? – I’m on the wide road to hell.

It’s easy to poke fun at this interaction, but I can’t really blame this particular commenter because, honestly, I was raised to read these verses through that very same lens. These words of Jesus, I was taught, are a warning of sorts to (1) remain on the narrow road where there isn’t room for much else other than Jesus, my Bible, and church and (2) avoid the wide road that has lots and lots of room for all the evils and temptations and deep, dark sins of the world.


These days, though. I don’t know. I mean, is this the BEST way to think about these verses?



Perhaps, the narrow road is narrow not because there isn’t much room for anything other than Jesus or because it’s so hard and terrible and miserable to travel, but perhaps it’s narrow because it’s a road that not many people want to travel because it’s a road that is filled with …

Love (over hate).

Peace (over war).

Forgiveness (over bitterness).

And so, perhaps the wide road is filled with less love and more hate, less peace and more war, less forgiveness and more bitterness and (therefore) lots more people because …


Isn’t that the easier of the roads to travel?

… Isn’t it?

Isn’t this wide road the road that our unchecked hearts would prefer to travel? Isn’t it easier to hate than to love? To make war than to make peace? To be bitter than to forgive? And isn’t it true that hate, war, and bitterness often lead to destruction?

The destruction of marriages?

The destruction of countries?

The destruction of families?

The destruction of nations?

The destruction of friendships?

The destruction of churches?

And so perhaps Jesus was encouraging his listeners to wrestle the hate, war, and bitterness out of their hearts and choose to walk the narrow road that not many marriages, countries, families, nations, and friendships travel down; and perhaps he was challenging them to steer clear of the wide road that is filled with hate, war, and bitterness that will most certainly lead to more heartache, more pain, and more destruction.

We All Need to Hear This

Matthew’s readers would have needed to hear this, right? I’m not sure how many more times I’ll say it, but if I were them … I would have been ticked off and revenge would have been on my mind.




“No way – give me the wide road that is filled with red hot rage, the biggest weapons you have, and the full force of whatever army we can gather. Let’s storm the castle. Let’s take down the enemy. Let’s make them pay. Let’s make them suffer. Let’s take something precious from them since they took EVERYTHING precious from us. Let’s bring destruction to their doorstep.”

And so perhaps Matthew included these words from Jesus to remind his readers that (indeed!) there is another option, there is another way … there is another road.

And maybe.

Just maybe.

Maybe he’d want you and I to know the same.


I don’t know what sort of Temple has crumbled down around you, but I do know that it’s easier to blame someone, hate someone, and hold it against someone than it is to release someone from blame, extend love to someone who might be the cause of your pain, and to offer forgiveness to the person who might be the cause of your ruin.[1] Yeah. It’s much easier to travel the wide road of hate than it is the narrow road of grace, love, and forgiveness.

Wouldn’t you agree?

And so my prayer for us today is that Spirit would help us find the way that not many find so that we can embrace the life that not many live and avoid the destruction that comes into the lives of so many.


Reflection Questions


  1. What do Jesus’ words about the narrow vs. wide road mean for you?
  2. What might it look like for you to walk the narrow road during this season of your life?





Emerging From the Rubble: https://amzn.to/3rsoiJs


What If Project: https://www.whatifproject.net


Podcast: https://www.whatifproject.net/podcast


YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/whatifprojectpodcast


Email (I will answer!): [email protected]


[1] I want to note here that forgiveness does not mean reconciliation, right? Sometimes it can, but many times it cannot. Why? Because (for example) some abusers will always abuse and so although you might be able to forgive an abuser, going back into a relationship with that person would not be safe for you – for your heart, for your mind, and/or (God forbid) for your body. The narrow road might call you to forgive, but that does not mean it will call you to reconcile – remember that.

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2023-07-16T06:44:44-04:00July 16th, 2023|Public Forum|

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  1. Foreigner July 16, 2023 at 8:52 am

    Wow i completely agree !! Good read, thank you !

    • gsiepert July 16, 2023 at 10:08 am

      Thanks, and thanks for reading!

  2. rfleming July 16, 2023 at 11:31 am

    It always amuses me when I hear someone say, “I know I’m going to heaven when I die.” In their mind they are 100% confident of their eternal fate. Usually, they are attempting to convince someone to believe the way they do.

    In my mind they have an ill-founded 100% confidence that is a representation of a type of engrained arrogance. I guess you call that brain washing. Let’s assume the confident person is Lutheran (just picking a random sect of a major religion). So, in a religious/theological paradigm, what if Shia Islam is the true way? Then their chances of seeing Paradise after death is suddenly zero. What if Orthodox Judaism is the true way? Again, their confidence is meaningless. What if Mormonism is the true way and only Mormons are going to heaven? What if Eastern Orthodox Catholicism is the true way, and even Roman Catholics are not practicing the sacraments correctly? What if a sect who still follows John the Baptist is the only true way? What if all you need is to simply believe in a god? Probably a popular “religion”, but not necessarily a “Truth” recognized by hundreds/thousands of other “Truths.”

    • rfleming July 16, 2023 at 1:39 pm

      What if there is a god (or gods) who only respect independent thinkers, who make reasonable assumptions in understanding the world, and don’t need organized religion to give false purpose/explanation? So maybe only scientists and freethinkers will enjoy an unexpected, wonderful afterlife. Hey, such a god (or gods) has as much probability (or lack of probability) as the confident Lutheran’s version of god.

      One might think, “Well, that can’t be true because there aren’t many people who think that way.” That reasoning suggests popularity determines the true version of the supernatural. From what I understand, if you combine all the different sects of Christianity, it is currently the majority in the world (ignoring the different sects with doctrines requiring belief in their way). However, again, from what I understand, Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world, and may one day become the majority (again, ignoring different sects). So, if that happens, does that mean it will suddenly become supernatural truth, and previous souls in heaven and hell will suddenly switch places?

    • gsiepert July 16, 2023 at 1:48 pm

      Great perspective, thank you so much for sharing.

    • dankoh July 16, 2023 at 3:57 pm

      Which is the flaw in Pascal’s Wager.

      • AngeloB July 24, 2023 at 5:04 am

        Pascal’s wager should be called Pascal’s wagers to reflect all the diverse religious perspectives.

  3. randal July 16, 2023 at 1:17 pm

    Never looked at it this way. You’re never taught this fundamentalist churches . If I could find inspiration like this in church, I might start going again. Thank you for the post

    • gsiepert July 16, 2023 at 1:49 pm

      Thanks for reading, my friend.

  4. nanuninu July 16, 2023 at 9:34 pm

    A god who would send anyone to Hell would send everyone to Hell because he would be so disgusted with his believers, enjoying their eternal picnic in Heaven while their non believing loved ones are burning in Hell, that he would just cast everyone into that lake of fire.

    • gsiepert July 17, 2023 at 4:39 pm

      It’s sad, but a lot of truth there. Thanks for sharing and for taking the time to read my thoughts.

    • AngeloB July 24, 2023 at 5:14 am

      Non-Evangelical mainstream Christians don’t have rigid black and white beliefs about heaven and hell.

  5. Richardson18 July 17, 2023 at 8:50 am

    A very interesting perspective, and one that make’s perfect sense in light of the way Jesus taught. Thank you for this post.

    • gsiepert July 17, 2023 at 4:39 pm

      Thanks so much, and thanks for reading!

  6. granitemiller July 17, 2023 at 12:20 pm

    Enjoyed your thought provoking article!

    • gsiepert July 17, 2023 at 4:07 pm

      Thank you, and thanks for taking the time to read it!

  7. canoetraveler July 21, 2023 at 12:00 pm

    You made note of the difference between forgiveness and reconciliation. In one of Dr. Ehrman’s recent podcasts he pointed out that Paul, and therefore Mark, saw Jesus’ crucifixion as atonement–as paying a debt. But Luke (except for one spot that Ehrman thinks was added latter) sees Christ’s passion as an act of forgiveness–not as a transaction.

    This seeming small difference has huge theological implications. It points the way to universal salvation. If Luke is right, the gates of heaven are wide; wide open.

    Even the book of Revelation, which gets so much wrong about Christ, gets this right. The gates of the New Jerusalem will never be closed. (Rev. 21:25)

    • gsiepert July 22, 2023 at 6:33 am

      Good insights, thanks for sharing and reading!

  8. 2380 July 21, 2023 at 12:21 pm

    I can’t tell you the number of times my father reminded me that the road to hell is paved with good intentions.
    I just wish it was paved with almost anything else.

    • gsiepert July 22, 2023 at 6:33 am

      Ahh yes, I’ve heard that one a many times myself.

  9. Jac July 21, 2023 at 7:30 pm

    Really appreciate your note about forgiveness and reconciliation. I guess my dilemma is what does forgiveness look like if you can’t let the person back into your life? Is it lack of anger (though i sometimes think a certain amount of ‘anger’ can be healthy when it involves not accepting what was done as good and acknowledging the harm as evil). Is it not wishing evil on the other person? Or is forgiveness something that just absorbs the hurt and does not retaliate in kind (though not letting the person in your life can be construed as retaliation). And forgiveness is tricky too when the harm was done to someone else, say a person harms a child.

    • gsiepert July 22, 2023 at 6:31 am

      Thanks so much for this comment. I don’t really have a good answer as I struggle with this too.

      For me and where I’m at nowadays, forgiveness is less about the other person and more about me. And so I think it’s coming to a place where although I may never have a desire to reconcile or restore the relationship, I can tell them (either to their face or in my own heart) that I wish them well on their journey. Sometimes I may be able to leave the welcome mat out for them to return and give the relationship another shot, but sometimes it may be such a toxic relationship that I need to roll up the welcome mat and lock the door so as to protect my own heart, mind, body, etc.

      either way, that’s a process that doesn’t always happen quickly. It may take months or years of processing depending on the level of pain involved. I don’t think there’s any roadmap for forgiveness.

      Not the best answer, I know, but it’s where I’m at these days in regards to the topic. Thanks for reading and sharing!

      • Jac July 23, 2023 at 11:00 pm

        It WAS the best answer. An honest answer always is!

        • gsiepert July 24, 2023 at 9:53 pm

          Thanks my friend! Sending love to you on your journey ❤️🙏🏻

      • sLiu March 15, 2024 at 7:23 pm

        we aren’t divine- Jesus or St Stephen.
        Forgiveness, can only be given if the trespasser admits that.

        11 years ago, the church I belonged to in Shanghai was preaching a series that we have to let it go [others sin]. Missionaries also prayed over me to make sure I let it go.

        11 years, I am in a worse situation than before.

        Thank u for blessing me & thy kingdom come!

  10. Hoyt Tuggle July 23, 2023 at 9:00 pm

    Everyone here,
    Just got around to reading the post, Certainly my loss. So much good theology here.

    Let me say that I am only a layperson in the company of my superiors.

    I agree that forgiveness does not mean, or require reconciliation. I am 81 and for 30 years, or more, I have believed that forgiveness is for the benefit of the forgiver, not the forgiven. IF this is true, and I firmly believe it is, then what does this say about Luke’s thinking of Christ’s passion as an act of forgiveness? Additionally, if forgiveness does not mean, or require reconciliation, doesn’t it also not require repentance?
    As Glen states above, this thinking “points the way to universal salvation”.

    As a child, I remember my grandmother saying, “I would give my right arm if only Edward (her son, my uncle) would come home and be a part of the family again.” Maybe “our” God, if he exists, is like that.

    Thanks so much for your post, Glen, and for all the comments. I am more at peace for having read all this.

    • gsiepert July 24, 2023 at 9:55 pm

      Wow thanks so much for sharing some of your story and for your encouraging words, I am grateful 🙏🏻. Sending you much love on your journey ❤️.

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