Belief in heaven is not a form of escapism

01/26/2014 4:00 PM

01/26/2014 6:20 PM

DEAR BILLY GRAHAM: I think people who believe in heaven are just trying to escape from their responsibilities on earth. How we live right now is what’s important, not believing in some pie-in-the-sky dream that may or may not be true. — L.R.

DEAR L.R.:

I don’t believe I’ve ever met a person who sincerely believed in heaven but wasn’t concerned about their responsibilities right now.

One reason is because of the example of Jesus, who taught repeatedly about the reality of heaven — but also went about healing the sick and encouraging those who were downhearted. He also commended his followers to love others and to help those who were hurting. The Bible says, “The entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself'” (Galatians 5:14).

Think, for example, of the hundreds of schools and colleges in our country that were established by Christians who believed in heaven — but also believed they had a responsibility to make this world a better place. Or think of the countless hospitals built by missionaries across the world because of their compassion for those in need.

My own father-in-law believed passionately in the reality of heaven, but spent 25 years serving the people of China as a missionary surgeon.

I can’t help but wonder, however, if your real problem is that you don’t want to face your own need of God. God loves you; he loves you so much that he wants you to spend all eternity with him. Don’t turn your back on him any longer, but open your heart and life to Jesus Christ. He alone gives us hope for the future, for he alone has opened heaven’s door for us. Jesus said, “My Father’s house has many rooms. 

I am going there to prepare a place for you” (John 14:2).

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