It happens to all of us. A love one has died, and we are trying to comfort our family or friends and we don’t know exactly what to say. People around us begin to say: “Oh they are in a better place now. They are at peace and at aren’t suffering anymore. They are now doing (fill in whatever activity they loved to do on earth) in heaven. They are now an angel.” And the list goes on and on and on.
How many times have we maybe nodded in agreement, ‘liked’ a Facebook status or even responded with the same words when a professing non-believer has died. When tragedy strikes, it is natural to cling to the hope that all their suffering wasn’t for nothing.
Well I am sorry, but we can’t lie about heaven any longer in order to give a false hope and a false comfort. In fact, we are doing our friends a disservice by doing so.
The truth is: not everyone who dies will go to heaven. In Matthew chapter 7, verses 13 and 14 Jesus told us that we are to “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” Jesus is clear that only a few will find it.
Heaven isn’t about Humans
Stop making things up about heaven. We need to remember that heaven isn’t going to be about us. It is about God, the one true God. The creator of the heavens and earths and yes, you may have done great things, but that still doesn’t make you deserve heaven.
God is the one that is judge and He alone has set the parameters for people to enter His gates. Though some might not think it is fair, we need to remember that one of God’s attributes is that He is a just judge and that one day He is going demand a penalty for the unjust.
In heaven we aren’t going to be playing golf, or water-skiing. We are going to be worshiping God. In the book of Isaiah chapter 6 verse 4 there are angels that have been going around His throne declaring ‘holy, holy, holy is the lamb of God” since the beginning of time. We are going to be falling on our knees worshiping Jesus who saved us from sin, from our death. We aren’t going to be thinking about what brings us pleasure, but we are going to be looking at the King. Having unhindered fellowship with no more pain, or suffering.
It is okay to tell them the truth.
Stop telling fables to make people feel better. It is incredible the stories people make up about heaven. The Pope made headlines this month when a distraught boy asked him whether his unbelieving father would be in heaven. This young boy came to the Pope to find some comfort and yet, the Pope turned around and gave unbiblical (even Satanic) counsel to this young boy.
Instead of taking the time to proclaim the truth, he gave this boy, the crowds and the watching world, a false hope by saying that his dad was in heaven, because he was a 'good man'. This is a lie from the devil!
Any idea that people don't need to trust in Christ's death for salvation, because their own deeds could earn them a place in heaven is wrong, it is heresy. The Bible clearly states that no-one can ever do good works to be saved and it offers Christ alone as the means to be saved and enjoy an eternity with God.
When death strikes how can we answer?
Let’s answer in love and honesty, "I don’t know if your friend is in heaven, but I do know that God is loving, just, sovereign and good. That nothing is out of His hands. And wherever your friend is, heaven or hell they would want you to know that God is king,
Jesus is His son and was sent to die on the cross for your sins so that His righteousness would be given to you. Because, without Christ you will not be able to stand before the holy God. Look at the rich man found in Luke chapter 16 verses 27 and 28, who was in hell suffering and begged “send Lazarus to my father’s house, for I have five brothers. Let him warn them so they will not also end up in this place of torment.”
The Bible is clear that the only hope we have is in the blood of Jesus Christ. The Bible tells us to believe in Christ and to repent and confess our sins. Without that we too we be lost. So today, while you still have breathe, repent and turn to Jesus. You will have a hope for an eternal future with him.
More than this, we hold the key to bring comfort to those who have lost loved ones. Give them hope that they can have a future, but don’t lie about the future of lost loved ones.
Genevieve Wilson is a happily married home-schooling mum of 3, whose passion is to see people come to know Jesus. She is a seminary wife to her amazing husband.
Genevieve Wilson is Canadian. a happily married home-schooling mum of 3, whose passion is to see people come to know Jesus. She is a seminary wife to her amazing husband.