Dick Hunt's Blog

February 12, 2011

Have I Been Good Enough To Go To Heaven?

Filed under: Current — Dick Hunt's Blog @ 2:19 pm

Have I Been Good Enough To Go To Heaven?
by Dick Hunt, February 11th, 2011.
I was talking on the phone this evening with my lonely 93 year old sister who lives alone in a house outside the city of Calgary.  She is my only surviving sibling and we talk on the phone every morning and evening.   Her husband passed away on August 25th, 1989 so she has been alone in her old Ranch house for 21 1/2 years.  She has two daughters and their families quite close at hand.  But in the house, especially at night, she feels quite cut off from the world.  She and her husband Wilfred had a wonderful marriage, working together and sharing in great harmony their chosen vocation.  They laboured for fifty four years and the Ranch was paid for finally before Wilfred died.
During most of their years together, they were active worshipers in two different Churches, one in Calgary and the other in a small town Church.  My sister still gives financial support to  the latter. But she is no longer able to drive and has not been able to go to Church  for years.  She feels really cut off from her spiritual roots. Today we talked about that gap in her life. She wondered “whether she has been good enough to go to heaven”.  I told her this true story.
When my wife and I lived in Campbell River on Vancouver Island, I was asked by a local Doctor if I would be willing to visit one of his patients in hospital who had terminal cancer. The patient was an elderly man, knew he  had not long to live and had no living relatives available to share with. He told me a bit of his story.  He had been brought up in the Lutheran Church, had attended Sunday School, married and was active in a Church with his wife until she passed away and had then lived alone. His question? Do you think I have been good enough to go to heaven?”  I said to him that I could give him an honest answer.  The answer was “No”.  I then asked him for his hand and he put it in mine. I said, you are holding the hand of another man who is not good enough to go to heaven.
I then told him clearly that no person on earth is good enough to go to heaven; we are all less than perfect and “all of us have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God”.  That is stated clearly again and again throughout the Bible, the book followed by all Christians who are true believers.  Then I said that what is essential is that we need to turn to Jesus Christ as Saviour  and Lord who took upon his own shoulders the sins of the whole human race and died for us in our place, to bring us  to the Father in heaven.  He said that he wanted to do that and he did, in penitence and Faith.  And he died in peace.  No one can ever work hard enough at being good to earn their way to heaven.  The debt has been paid in full by our Lord Jesus.
When I shared my chat with my daughter Joy tonight, she said, “Dad, you need to write up that story”,  so here it is.  I have had similar chats with a great variety of people in many places, not least in hospitals. I have been a Anglican Priest for 54 years.  I have dodged whisky bottles aimed at me by angry alcoholics.  I have talked men out of thrashing me for daring to listen to their wives.  And in my years of winding down I am receiving letters and e-mail messages from men and women who thank me for showing them the way of peace and salvation through Jesus Christ.
It is notable that Jesus never invaded the privacy of anyone but always responded to their pleas for healing and direction.  Would that professing Christians were as considerate of others. Some are aggressive and force themselves on the privacy of people who have reason to be left alone. Years ago in Alberta, I went to an Esso Station to buy gasoline.  The young man who came to fill my tank, took one look at my clerical collar and turned immediately hostile.  Without a word, he filled my tank, took my money and went back in the station. I resolved to keep on buying my fuel there and the result was the same, for six months.  Then one May morning there was a small aircraft flying over the town and I said, “boy, I wish I was up there”.  Shocked, he turned to me and said, “do you fly” and I said yes.  He reached out his hand and took mine in a grip and said come on in the office. That broke an impass and turned our relationship around.  Don is a dear friend and a Christian.  He had been insulted in public by a Minister and gripped his hatred like a dog with a bone.
Jesus wants nothing but the best for every person on this earth.  His love is as wide as the human race and He died for all God’s people, desiring nothing less than to bring into God’s Eternal Kingdom everyone who will seek His face and turn to Him in faith and penitence.  I can honestly say that I have never seen anything but great joy and gladness on the face of everyone I have worked with at the moment when they have given themselves to Jesus Christ and received forgiveness and reconciliation to the Father.  “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven  given to men by which we must be saved”. (Acts 4:12)

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