I believe that Heaven and Hell starts here, right here, right now. How? By the way you live your life each day.
Remember: Your afterlife will be a mirror image of what is in your heart. But it will be eternally multiplied.
I know of people who are living a life of Hell on earth…
Last January, Carl, a 73-year old man rang the doorbell in the house of a former high school classmate. When this man answered the door, Carl asked, “Are you Norman Johnson?” When Norman answered, “Yes,” Carl pointed a 45 caliber and shot Norman twice, blowing up his entire face. Why did he kill Norman? According to Carl, he was still mad at Norman because when they were in high school 56 years ago (my gosh), in a locker room prank, Norman put his smelly supporter over Carl’s head.
It only happened once. But for the following 56 years, Carl replayed that scene over and over again in his mind. I repeat: Norman did it only once. But Carl did it thousands of times—putting that sweaty, smelly supporter over his head—in his imagination.
And if Carl heard good stuff about Norman—how he got a job, how he got promoted, how he got an award—he would feel terrible. The seed of bitterness that was planted 56 years ago was nurtured everyday and it grew bigger and bigger and bigger, until it became a gigantic monster. Carl was living with this monster of bitterness eating him up inside.
I don’t know what Hell is like, because I’ve never been there, and I don’t have plans of going. But I bet it must be very close to that. Bitterness in your heart is Hell. And if you don’t ask for Jesus to heal that bitterness, Hell continues even after death.
But if you live a life of love, you experience Heaven now.
I’ve noticed that the happiest people I’ve met in the world are people whose hearts are overflowing with love.
Let me say it again: Heaven and Hell starts now.
And so does purgatory…
My Interpretation Of Purgatory
Everything that is happening to your life right now is purifying you, sanctifying you, shaping you, and transforming you to become more like Jesus—until you become perfect.
And just like Heaven and Hell, purgatory continues even after you die.
Let me describe purgatory to you: When you die, you’ll see God. And you’ll run towards Him. And I believe you’ll see God running towards you too. When you take one step, He takes ten steps. As you move closer to each other, you realize His love is burning away all your imperfections. The closer you get to Him, the more perfect you become. So that at that moment when God embraces you, all your weaknesses have totally vanished. And you become perfect, as God is perfect.
What is that “running” towards God and God “running” towards you? That’s my definition of purgatory.
I can imagine that when Mother Teresa died, this run was pretty short. Perhaps a hundred meter dash. (Gosh, I’m wrong; perhaps it was only five or six steps!)
But other very imperfect people (like me) may have to run a few miles! (I just hope it’s NOT a marathon.)
Next week, I’ll talk to you about some real-live “spiritual Indiana Jones” that I believe are living in Heaven now—while on earth. Watch for it…
May your dreams come true,