“But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you lock people out of the kingdom of heaven. For you do not go in yourselves, and when others are going in, you stop them.”
Who determines who goes to Heaven? Is Hitler in Heaven? Is Hugh Hefner in Heaven? These are thoughts I had recently, when I did my Lectio Divina prayers and meditated on Philippians 2:5. Don’t ask me why I thought of Mr. Hefner. It just came to me. Here is what I thought.
Who determines who goes to Heaven? Are just those baptized in Heaven and no one else? Is our Church the sole purveyor of tickets to Heaven and the rest of us are doomed to whatever? Does God have the power to allow someone in Heaven, if they have sinned or have not been baptized with water and the Spirit, even if we say they should not be there?
One of the great tricks that Satan plays on humans is to trick them into thinking that they are the sole interpreter of what God does or does not do. No one knows the human heart except God, and no one, no church, no clergy can tell who is in Heaven or not. What you can say is, you must be baptized with water and the Spirit to enter the kingdom of Heaven. What that means in practice is God. realm Heaven is God’s playground, not yours, and He can let in anyone He wants for any reason. God makes the rules in His playground and He can let in anyone He wants. The ooly way to change this idea that you are judge, jury and executioner, is to be God. Adam and Eve tried that. Christ’s death and resurrection gave us power over our death and the hope of the resurrection. (See John 11:25-27.) Only God is judge over humans, not you, not me, not Mr. Hefner.
Adam and Eve wanted to control and manipulate God to their image and likeness and you know where that led. I must think twice before I just others as to who is going to Heaven or not. I am not God, nor do I want to place limits on God. That is First Commandment stuff we are talking about. Read Matthew 7: 1-3 “Do not judge, so that you may not be judged. For with the judgment you make you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get. Why do you see the speck in your neighbor’s eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye?”
When I was in my 20’s, a young preacher thought he would gain a trophy by converting me to the religion of Christ. He was a good man and seemed sincere, so I had pity on him and did not do to him what he was doing to me. I just smiled and said, “Peace be with you you.” It nearly drove him crazy and he screamed at me that I was going to Hell because I did not believe that Jesus was Lord. I would never condemn him for believing in Christ Jesus, nor for praying to the Holy Spirit for enlightenment. In the same way, I would never say that Hugh Hefner is in Hell. What I would say is, “I hope God is merciful to both him and me, especially me.” I don’t know what ever happened to that minister. He thought he was righteous.
When each of us dies, as we all will, we will have a particular judgement. The Catholic Catechism states it like this:
THE PARTICULAR JUDGMENT
“1021 Death puts an end to human life as the time open to either accepting or rejecting the divine grace manifested in Christ.592 The New Testament speaks of judgment primarily in its aspect of the final encounter with Christ in his second coming, but also repeatedly affirms that each will be rewarded immediately after death in accordance with his works and faith. The parable of the poor man Lazarus and the words of Christ on the cross to the good thief, as well as other New Testament texts speak of a final destiny of the soul–a destiny which can be different for some and for others.593
1022 Each man receives his eternal retribution in his immortal soul at the very moment of his death, in a particular judgment that refers his life to Christ: either entrance into the blessedness of heaven-through a purification or immediately, — or immediate and everlasting damnation.“
My focus here is not on if Hugh Hefner is in Heaven or not, but rather on those who consider themselves righteous and interpreters of who goes to Heaven or Hell. To look at this in detain, I turn to Matthew’s Chapter 23 and the sevenfold indictment of the scribes and Pharisees for a cautionary tale about those so eager to condemn others like Hugh Hefner. Let God do the judging and you keep asking for mercy for yourself.