Q: I’m not sure I want to go to heaven. I know I’ve hurt some people very badly (including my ex-spouse and our children), and I’d be embarrassed to run into them in heaven. Can you understand why I feel this way? — M.N.
A: Yes, I can understand your feelings, but instead of making you reluctant to go to heaven, in reality they ought to make you want to go there! Let me explain.
When we come to Jesus Christ and trust him for our salvation, God forgives us of all our sins without exception. No, we won’t completely erase them from our memories, and we’ll still feel shame over things we’ve done that hurt others. But in God’s eyes they have been forgiven, because Jesus Christ took upon himself the judgment that we deserve for our sins. The Bible’s promise is true: “God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins” (Colossians 2:13).
But God not only forgives us, but he also assures us that someday we will go to be with him in heaven, and when we do, we will be perfect. Listen: In heaven you won’t be the same person you are now and neither will anyone else. All anger and shame and bitterness and conflict will be banished, and perfect love will reign.
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Don’t turn your back on Christ, and don’t reject the gift of salvation he offers you. Instead, open your heart and life to his transforming power. Then make it your goal to live for him every day. In addition, reach out to those you may have hurt, letting them know you regret what you did and asking for their forgiveness. In heaven, the Bible says, “we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is” (1 John 3:2).
Write “My Answer,” Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, 1 Billy Graham Parkway, Charlotte, N.C., 28201; or go to BillyGraham.org.