When a non-christian dies...
Updated: Jul 19, 2018
2 years ago today was the last time I saw my Grandad alive, I was with him when he passed and I was with him in his final days. My Grandad lived with us growing up, he was a very important figure in my life, at times it felt like he was the only one on my side. When I was younger I hoped that Grandad would never die and that he would definitely make a 100 and receive a birthday card from the Queen. Grandad died 2 months before his 100th birthday. He lived a good life and when his time came, he left behind a family who cared for him very much. He had 3 children, 9 grandchildren, 15 great grandchildren. He was proud of his family - we're far from perfect but it didn't matter - he was proud of his legacy.
I did not grow up in a christian home and so my family are not Christians. This led to some awkwardness - would he go to heaven? how can I be comforted now that he's gone? did I not tell him enough about Jesus? How could I make peace with those questions, in my grief?
As Christians, we believe that to go to heaven you must accept Jesus Christ. This means you acknowledge - who He is - the Son of God and that He died on a cross for our sins and rose again, beating death. He paid the price of our sins and therefore by accepting Him, we are now accepted by God. In this life you have choices and there is a consequence to the choices we make. The consequence to not accepting, is hell. Hell to the secular world may seem like the exciting choice, with all the fun things in life but its a place without God, without love. This life on earth, whilst can be hard, also has Gods love, now imagine living in this world without love - of any kind. It would be a horrible place to be.
Does this mean I believe my Grandad is in hell? No, I don't. I do believe the above paragraph but I also believe God is good, I believe in his outrageous love and grace. I know this by finding out about His character through the bible, my relationship with Him. God chooses who He reveals himself too and who has the gift of salvation. I didn't spend every one of my Grandad's last moments telling him about Jesus. I showed him my love, my care and kindness, which comes from God. I can shout about Jesus from the rooftops but it is Gods choice, who receives the gift of salvation. It is His burden.
Many people can say they are Christians, act and do all the right things but does that mean they truly accepted Jesus into their heart? - only God knows the truth. God cares deeply for His creation, all of His creation and I know that He is good. He did not want His creation to suffer or be apart from Him, hence why He sent His Son to earth in the first place. No one truly knows what is in a persons heart, what commitments to God they may have made and I believe that God would have revealed Himself to my Grandad in his final days and laid the choices before Him.
Matthew 10: 29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care.[b]30 And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.
32 “Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. 33 But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven.
I prayed for Him, over Him and now that Grandad is no longer here on earth, I still trust that God is good and righteous. I trust Him with my Grandad's salvation. My Grandad was important to God and I believe He would have spoken to Him in His final days. I believe that any anger would have been dispelled and that there would have been reconciliation but I won't actually know until I join eternity, until then I can take comfort in my faith, I can make peace in my grief, as I know that God is loving and that God is good, ALWAYS.