Death and the New Believer: How to Counsel?

Maybe you can help me (Will) process something that has been weighing on my heart for the past 24 hours.  You see, early Sunday morning, we received a call that the father of our house helper and language teacher died unexpectedly.  These 2 sisters were very distraught.  Their father and family live about 10 hours away from here in FLL.  They last saw him 6 weeks ago.  They are only 25 and 18…and they are all Hindu.  Now, as believers we have a different view of death.  Yes, there is mourning and weeping and sadness, but this is all surrounded by the hope that we have that the one who has died is now living with Jesus, forever.

We never had the chance to meet their father.  Even though they have only been working for with us for 4 months, these girls have become a part of our family.  Their father and family had been planning on moving down to our town for some time, but he was waiting till he completed his cancer treatments.  We had been praying for healing, and he was on the path to recovery.  The girls often talked of their dad and how much they missed him.  They were so excited for the day when the family would move here.  We too were excited.  Beth has been sharing the Gospel with both girls regularly since they moved here.  The younger sister seemed to have a softening of her heart towards Jesus; the older not so much.  However, we are very much believers in Homes of Peace as found in Luke 10, and so were  looking forward to getting a chance to share this great news with the whole family, esp the father.  You see, in this culture, the father is THE leader of the family.  What he says, what he gives permission for, what he forbids, stands.  If he believes, then it’s easier for all to believe.

Well, we never got that chance and never will.  As an unbeliever in Jesus, the Bible makes it very clear what has happened to his soul.  No reincarnation.  No second chances.  No eternal life with Jesus.  People die every day not knowing Jesus; in fact here in South Asia, I think it’s like 40 people/minute (let that stat set in).  But for me, it’s a reality I know, but maybe haven’t taken to heart….until now.

If When these girls open their lives to knowing Jesus, we (mostly Beth) will have the great joy of discipling these young girls into mature women of Christ.  Yet, I can’t get past that one of these truths they will have to grasp is that their father is in hell.  Yes, when they die, they will no longer have to worry about reincarnation and the lack of assurance.  They will know their Savior and spend the rest of eternity in His presence…but their father will not.

So friends, this is the burden I carry today.  What do you say to new believers when they realize, for the 1st time, that their family members who died without Jesus are in hell?  How do you help them cope with the weight of this knowledge?

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