JoeH raises an important question in the comments box.
He asks, "Perhaps I should spend time in Hell, but for all eternity? Right next to Hitler?"
My answer, coming from a mere layman; I am no priest, or vicar or pastor, as some of you have assumed, is this.
We are all sinners. Me included. I can sin as the best, or worst, of you.
However, I do not believe that sinning alone will lead us to go down to hell without a parachute. God is not a computerised YES/NO machine that sends people to Heaven or Hell depending on a pre-calculated mathematical equation or similar formula. Our puny brains may devise such a system. But God is cleverer, and more loving and merciful, than this.
Let us consider what is sin.
It is knowingly, and with intention, doing something seriously wrong, knowing that it is seriously wrong, yet doing it all the same, without any pressure or coercion from someone else.
Yes we're all sinners. We all listen to gossip, or start and partake in gossip. We're all a little selfish every now and then. Greedy perhaps. Or lazy. Or perhaps too severe, harsh, and lacking in humour. There's a variety of other sins which I'm sure you can think of that fall into this category.
Now if we all were to die with these sins on our conscience, and we were sent to hell as a result; then I guess hell will be a very overcrowded place, and Heaven so empty you would not be able to even get four people to play in a bridge cards game.
But as I said. God is not like that. He is not a black and white YES/NO type of God. If He were such a God then He would have been wasting His time saving us by offering Christ to die for us, and then turn His back on us on a technicality.
God is a loving, caring, Father God. He cares for His creations just like any good parent does. Would you banish your child and totally disown him because he has eaten all the cookies, or finished the jar of jam? Of course not. Then why do you imagine God would act in such a way?
God considers each person and each sin on an individual basis. He recognises that some sins are "non-intentional" sins. (My words. Not Biblical. Please do not write in complaining that I have invented a new dogma or doctrine).
When we listen or partake in gossip, or are greedy, or selfish, God knows it is us being somewhat stupid. Stupid is part of being human. It is in our DNA to be stupid.
God understands such sins born of human frailty. He forgives.
He forgives, unless it is a deliberate sin committed through full knowledge of its seriousness as I mentioned above. A sin committed and not confessed, and not repented upon, or forgiveness sought. A sin committed through effrontery, impudence and arrogance in defiance of God Himself.
It is a thin line between gossip, and deliberately running down an individual with lies and deceit. Like the thin line between greed and total selfishness to the exclusion of all else. Or being severe and being tyrannical. Or between flirting and adultery. I'm sure you understand what I'm leading to here.
God knows our intentions when we sin and He treats each sin and each individual accordingly.
I believe that when we die with "minor" sins on our conscience, (Again my word. Not Biblical), God does consider such sins and deals with them accordingly.
After all, He sought forgiveness on the Cross for those who put Him there. How does that compare with a "minor" sin like gossip?
I believe that those people who do end up in hell are those who deliberately and consciously want to go there. People who throughout their lives have consciously turned their back on God. Have consciously chosen to go their own way. To do it their way and to live by their rules; regardless how these affect other people.
I am certain that you can name many people throughout history, or people you have known, who may fall in this category.
People whom many would assume, or believe, that they should go to hell. For an eternity even.
But fortunately, this is not a decision for you or me to make. Only God decides who enters Heaven or goes to hell.
And one thing is certain. God does not make mistakes.