What If My Loved Ones Didn’t Choose Jesus?

Billie Jo YoumansBy Billie Jo Youmans8 Minutes

People I love have died without Jesus … I’m afraid if I follow Jesus, I’ll go to heaven without them.

The only eternal destination you can know is your own because it is a matter of the heart. Jesus sees deep within and understands each one of us. There is much brokenness in this world that creates what Job called words to the wind (Job 6:26). We don’t always know why people say and do the things they do, but God does. He alone can judge rightly — beware of putting yourself in the judgment seat.

The invitation to choose Jesus extends to the very last moment of life. Your loved ones may have made their eternal decision after losing a conscious connection with you. Don’t consign your loved ones to hell — focus on getting to know the Author of Life. He is the only hope for eternal relationship because our ability to love others comes from Him (1 John 4:19).

Hell will not be a place of connection and relationship. Surrendering to the fear and choosing NOT to follow Jesus guarantees eternal separation from all relationships. NOT following Jesus will NOT lead you to lost loved ones.

The Sting of Jesus’ Death

Death is separation from God — from all that is good, which is why receiving the gift of eternal life from Jesus Christ is the most important choice you can make. Those who end up in the outer darkness of hell arrive there by rejecting Jesus, the source of Light, Love, and Life. Like Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, they choose their own way over  the Father’s will.  The Scriptures are clear — the way of man is the way of death (Proverbs 14:12).

Jesus understands the horrifying grief that powers your fear of death – and eternal separation from loved ones. Passion for love and relationship flows from the heart of God. In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus anguished over the horror of his impending (temporary!) separation from God, the Father. Soak in those passages (Matthew 26:36-56; Mark 14:32-52, Luke 22:39-53, or John 18:1-12) to watch how He faced the fear.

In the face of horrors we can’t fully comprehend — bearing the weight of God’s wrath for every sin ever committed — the sinless Jesus chose to completely trust in His Father’s heart. With confidence in God’s wisdom, power, and goodness Jesus prayed, “not my will but thine be Done.”

 It’s the prayer we need to grow into as well.

God is good and He is for us!

Heaven is God’s desired destination for each of us. His love compelled Him before creation to make a way for us to join Him in heaven. His generous love has given us all things (2 Peter 1:3), and He continually calls us to know Him more. God doesn’t desire for anyone to spend eternity in hell (2 Peter 3:9), and He made the Way for us to come to heaven as easy as possible.

God wants us to trust Him with everything — even the ones we love who don’t know Jesus yet. He wants us to join Him in the family business of saving souls — of introducing people to Jesus Christ. God continually pours out His love to draw us close to Him, and we have the distinct privilege of loving others in His name. The choice to receive or reject His love belongs to every individual. Our earthly lives offer us the opportunity to know the power, goodness, and love of God personally – and invite others to enjoy it as well.

Jesus is worthy!

Are you still wondering whether heaven without your family and friends could possibly be worth it?   Consider the parable of the rich young ruler. Do you remember the story? A rich young man seeks out Jesus to ask what he needs to do to get to heaven. When Christ points to the Law, he’s encouraged because his life appears in order and he’s content with his performance.

But Jesus looked at him and loved him enough to speak these difficult words:

“There is still one thing you haven’t done,” he told him. “Go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” At this the man’s face fell, and he went away sad, for he had many possessions. (Mark 10:21-22 NLT).

Like those who want to hold onto treasured friends, the rich young ruler was asking an eternal question from an earthly mindset. Jesus understood — even though the rich young man did not — that his love for his earthly treasures held him captive.

Jesus’ lovingly encourages all of us to leave our treasures (including loved ones) in the capable hands of our loving God (Luke 14:26). The things we trust in on this earth ultimately fall short (Romans 3:23). Rejecting the offer of eternal life thinking we have a better plan is a guaranteed fail. Thankfully, Jesus masterfully uses the stuff of life to expose earthly misconceptions – and reveal His own goodness and worth.

Worship wins.

The treasure of relationships comes from the love of God. As we walk through life, following Jesus, we seek to love all those God places in our life. The simple attempt to love will expose the places we fall short of His Glory. But even our broken best is enough in the hands of the Savior. He will use us to show others the Way to His love. We won’t do it perfectly (remember Romans 3:23), but that is exactly why Jesus came.

As we grapple with loving others — and forgiving them and ourselves for our failures — we see the glory of God in increasing measure. We begin to worship Him so deeply, so completely that all the details and worries of life melt away.

Our finite minds can’t really grasp heaven. At best, we can seek to know the incredible, awesome God of the Bible who is all-powerful, all-knowing, and all-loving — in every moment of our lives! As our knowing of Him expands, our confidence in His good plans will lift us above every worry and equip us to be partners with Him in His redemption efforts.