NOT BEING A PREACHER, this isn’t a sermon I’ve preached.
And not being someone who lived with a drug-addicted parent, this isn’t a reality I’ve had to wrestle.
But it’s a sermon many pastors preach. It’s a reality many souls endure. And today, it’s the Bible Question of the Week, coming from Melyssa.
My father passed away December 1. He led a hard life. I can remember his drug use started while I was in junior high. It continued throughout my high school years and up to his death. I became pregnant with my first child when I was 20. Not wanting drugs in my baby’s life I told my father I didn’t want drugs around and he had a choice. His choice was meth. Though I can say we had a meeting of the hearts in my late 20’s, I never really forgave him for choosing drugs. Our relationship had always been strained. My question is this: Did my daddy go to heaven? I’m not positive if he knew Jesus or not. It breaks my heart to know that I might not see him ever again. Please help!
Melyssa, I’m sorry you lost your one and only DNA dad three weeks before Christmas. I’m sorry he used methamphetamines, a tough chain to break. I’m sorry if he wasn’t acquainted with the spirit of Jesus. And I’m sorry you’re afraid you’ll never see him again.
I think some people would wonder why you care about that since your father sounds like a poor excuse of a dad.
But I’ve noticed that it doesn’t usually matter what kind of mom or dad we have. We’re wired to love.
I know a lady who has a bitterly mean-spirited mother. This mom, now elderly, spent a lifetime demeaning her daughter, publicly, privately, to her face, behind her back, upside down and doing cartwheels. Yet I’m astonished as I have watched this now-grown daughter interact with her mother, who still berates her.
The daughter cares and shows respect. She treats her mother like the mother she deserves instead of the mother she got.
From what I can see, she loves her hurtful mother as much as I love my nurturing mother.
I confess. I have trouble understanding that. But I believe it when I see it. So I don’t doubt for a moment that you loved your dad – and love him still.
Will you see him again?
There are Christian Bible experts smarter than me who would argue both sides of that question.
Some rally around a literal read of verses about salvation and hell:
- “If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Romans 10:9)
Many presume that those who don’t believe are damned.
Others rally around hopeful verses like this:
- “God was also pleased to bring everything on earth and in heaven back to himself through Christ. He did this by making peace through Christ’s blood sacrificed on the cross.” (Colossians 1:20)
Some say that sounds as though everyone, somehow, will be saved.
What do you think of this approach, Melyssa? Instead of putting our faith in one interpretation of selected Bible verses, some Christians put their faith in Jesus.
They read his stories. Study his character. Look at how he treated the social bottom dwellers of his day. Religion scholars back then accused him of being “a glutton and a drunk, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!” (Matthew 11:18-19)
Would he have been the friend of meth addicts, too?
Melyssa, I don’t know your dad. But you do.
You know Jesus, too. His spirit lives inside you.
Why not ask the spirit your question, then listen for an answer?
“I will not abandon you as orphans—I will come to you….I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.” (John 14:18, 27)
Melyssa, don’t let others tell you what to think about heaven and hell and who goes where. Read the Bible for yourself. Get to know Jesus and his spirit within you.
Will you ever see your dad again?
For now, until you can find the peace of mind that Jesus was talking about, the best answer I have is this: God knows. Trust God.
That’s not enough for many people. But it’s enough for God’s people. Most of the time, anyhow. We all have our moments.