Question:

I have sad news, my father just died of an overdose! Are there any verses that you can point out to me that say he can be in Heaven! I'm so scared he is in hell because he said he was mad at God and all.


Answer:

I am really sorry to hear about your loss. It is hard to lose people we have known all our lives.

You and I can't decide whether any person is going to heaven or hell. It is simply a matter that we don't know enough. "Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels of the hearts. Then each one's praise will come from God" (I Corinthians 4:5). We don't know everything that a person does because we aren't with them 24 hours a day. Nor do we know a person's motives. We cannot read another person's mind. We can make guesses as to what we might think, we can express our hopes, but ultimately the fact is that we do not know what a person's final outcome will be. In a strange, but interesting verse, we find that even the archangel, Michael, in an argument with Satan, refused to put himself in the position of Satan's judge (Jude 9). If anyone stands condemned, it is Satan. But the point is that Satan's destiny has been determined by God and not by you or I.

God will determine fairly the destiny of your father based on his life. "Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is man's all. For God will bring every work into judgment, including every secret thing, whether good or evil" (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14). Admittedly, we often don't want a fair judgment. More often we want a judgment biased in our favor or in the favor of those we love. God is merciful and we can ask Him to be merciful on your father, but ultimately the decision is God's to make based on the decisions your dad made during his life. "And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment" (Hebrews 9:27).

Your father had his good points and his bad. Imitate those good things without picking up his bad traits. Ultimately you and I will also go before God and we each will be judged by the things that we do. What our parents were like or what our children are like will not be a factor in our own judgment. "The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not bear the guilt of the father, nor the father bear the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself" (Ezekiel 18:20).

Ultimately, we have to acknowledge that your father made his own choices. Some of those decisions you and I may wish he did not make. However, they were his decisions and not ours. He is responsible for his choices just as you and I are responsible for our own choices. Let us then determine to reach heaven and bring as many as we can along with us. "Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 3:8-14).