“What Happens When You Don’t Go To Heaven?”

February 9, 2009 at 7:36 am (Biblei-Octopi, Parents) (, , , , , , )

So, tonight we are reading a passage in a “children’s” Bible – you’ve probably read one with your kids – condensed message that outlines a bible story without a whole lot of details. Tonight’s story was about some friends who brought a blind man to Jesus to be healed and through the passage I was discussing with my 6 year old daughter and 3 year old son how important it is to choose and be a good friends.

I don’t recall how, but the conversation progressed into believing about Jesus and somewhere in there my daughter asked, “So what happens when you don’t go to heaven?”

I should preface by saying that my wife and I have a strong commitment to the principles of 1) being available to discuss ANY topic with our children and 2) not glossing over the truth but working to help our kids understand truth to the best of their ability to comprehend. The topics of hell and sex are obviously some of the biggest challenges to these principles, but here we are in real time.

“Well, heaven is where Jesus is, where those who believe in Him get to live with Him forever. When you don’t believe in Jesus, you go to a place called hell, that is where Jesus is not and it is not a very nice place at all. Those that do not believe in Jesus have to go to hell, where they will not be with Jeuse, they will be with the devil.”

6 year old daughter: “What does the devil look like?” (Note, this is a 6 year old and the progression of questions are quite logical but also reveal an exposure to spiritual topics and a hunger for truth)

“Well, he probably is very beautiful to some degree as he was created by God and had a very important job but decided that he wanted to be like God. Since only God can be God and the devil had decided to do something other than what God had created him for he had to be sent out of heaven.”

6: “Isn’t the devil red?”

“No, that is an incorrect creation of people, similar to many of our religious images (talked about the wimpy images of Jesus).”

6: “Did great grandpa go to heaven?”

“I didn’t know great grandpa really well and only Jesus decides who goes to heaven. From what I understand of great grandpa I don’t think that Jesus was a priority for him, I don’t know that he believed in Jesus.”

6: “So then he didn’t go to heaven?”

“I don’t know for sure because I didn’t know him but it would depend on whether he believed in Jesus.”

I don’t remember just how she worded it, but she mentioned something about when we die we our eyes are closed so we can’t see in heaven. We talked about physical bodies and spiritual bodies, I turned to Philippians 3:20, 21 and we discussed that we will have perfected physical bodies. Since the word transform was in the text and my children are quite familiar with Transformers, I used that as a discussion point to talk about transformation through Christ.

Some nights we have good discussions. Some nights the discussions are brief. I think the important thing is that there is an open format for spiritual discussion and when times like these come along, there isn’t a fear of diving into difficult topics. Tonight was about 45 minutes of deep topics all centering around heaven, hell and death.

As my wife and I were reflecting on the conversation, we were discussing the natural consequences of our commitments and the deeper truth that was revealed by our 6 year old. We were enlightened to just how much of a hunger for truth our 6 year old daughter was displaying, just how logically she was processing the information (granted, 6 year old logic, but none the less logical) but also the reality that she is receiving information that is of a spiritual nature with or without us. If we do not create an open door for our children to discuss ANY topic they will find some other source to feed them information about those topics. If we are not honest with our children, they will not get the information that they yearn for as they search for truth and the trust they have in us as a conduit for truth will deteriorate over time.

If you didn’t catch that, let me sum it up: IF YOU AREN’T DISCUSSING (fill in blank) WITH YOUR CHILD, SOMEONE ELSE IS. If you aren’t discussing spiritual things or sexual things or any other thing with your child, then someone else will and they probably won’t be framing topic in the proper moral context.

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A resource that has been pivotal in changing our mindset towards youth ministry and parenting has been “You Want To Pierce What?” by Walker Moore (available as a book and/or movie presentation). We were so blessed when we were working with youth to have attended a presentation at a SBC Youth Conference where Walker presented his ideas. What struck us was that you could tell Walker had put his time in understanding how not just to create a successful youth group but how to actually help youth develop into spiritually functioning adults.

Last I checked on Amazon there were 6 avaliable (92 cents plus shipping) – type in “You Want To Pierce What?”

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