Perhaps an abrupt post title?? This is a bit of a vent. I am mystified and bothered by practicing Christians, who should be familiar with basic Christians beliefs, but say inaccurate things. For example, someone dies and they refer to the person as being an angel now or getting their wings! What in the world? This is not Christian teaching. Humans don’t become angels when they die. I have a factual (biblical) 3-part series on angels here, and another post that is more passionate: Is your dead loved one an angel now, or able to guide you?
By the way, I am clearly not the only one concerned about such, as from time to time on twitter I’ll see a tweet something like: “One more time! People do NOT become angels when they die!”
Let me clarify that this does not apply to nominal Christians or secular folks, meaning that when such people say inaccurate things I just overlook it. I don’t expect them to have accurate Christian beliefs because they are not practicing Christians.
Another example. I may have a blog post about my beloved dog that recently died, but when I shared on social media I wrote this at the end: “It is uncertain biblically if our animals could be on the new heaven and earth with us in the eternal state, but I think it is a possibility. If I could have only one beloved animal companion with me for eternity, I would choose Lizzie.”
I myself do not know how a Christian can say with certainty that their dead dog or cat will be in heaven (etc) – based on the Bible at least. It would be another post to discuss that, but while I do think it is possible – neither is it certain. Yet I see practicing Christians make adamant statements, or just say odd things – like there is a heaven for dogs.
Maybe you are thinking “Good grief. Everything does not have to be accurate, especially in a time of grief.” – I suppose. But I am not comforted by inaccuracies.
I am much more comforted by a possibility based on biblical thinking, than on something stated as a certainty based on sentimental thinking.
I am comforted to know that my dog is no longer struggling. I would love to see my dog again on the new heaven and earth, and I am comforted that it is a possibility! God is good and knows how much I loved my dog. But maybe life on the new heaven and earth will be so wonderful beyond our imagination that some earthly things like our animals will fade from our memory – eclipsed by things far, far greater. I am thankful that I got to have the experience here on earth, now, of such a great dog.
Consider this post by a Christian woman who lost her son: Is My Son My “Guardian Angel”? – She shares that while she understands why some parents think this way, it “just doesn’t correspond to what Scripture tells me about what happens after death.” She is comforted that her son is in heaven in the presence of Jesus. THAT brings her comfort, not some idea that her son is an angel or watching over her. In fact, the idea of her son as her guardian angel is NOT comforting to her but disturbing.
So, Christians, think more carefully about what you say. Is it biblically accurate? biblically certain? When we say inaccurate things it could backfire and actually discourage someone, or lead down a path of false thinking about other things.
The fact that many Christians make unbiblical statements, about various things, points to an unfortunate overall biblical illiteracy and a lack of thoughtful reflection.
Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. As followers of Jesus, we should be concerned with truth and accuracy. We want to be trustworthy witnesses for our Lord Jesus. If we are careless about truth with “littler” things, it can spill over into bigger things. Why should people trust us when we share big truths about Jesus, the gospel, and salvation if we are careless with these other things like angels, animals, and such?
Update with a clarification: Being “truthful” does not mean being rude or disheartening to someone in a difficult time. People need comfort. But we can state things in such a way that is both accurate and comforting. For example, see my paragraph above that begins “I am comforted to know that…” as an example.
Past post here about animals: Blessing the animals? It also has a couple links to whether our pets could be in heaven.