Now before anyone gets the wrong idea, i am not being sacrilegious. Just another way to look at it.
We had a visiting priest come to our church for a week. His name is Father McCaffe. He was awesome. I had a chance to talk with him in a semi-private setting. Naturally i was interested in our personal judgement when we die.
Most Protestants believe in the "Once Saved, Always Saved" mentality. Catholics believe that you only get into heaven through Faith and Works. in other words, you have to be a believer and put those beliefs into action.
So Father McCaffe (FM) and I were talking. The conversation went something like this:
So, FM how do you think we are judged when we die?
(FM) Well Ray, tell me how you envision your judgement at the time of your death.
(ME) OK FM, although no one really knows, i think i will stand face to face with Jesus and we will discuss the good and the bad that i have done in my life.
(FM) A lot of people believe just as you do. You are correct that no one knows but let me give you a little food for thought. Do you Ray, believe that with God, all things are possible?
(ME) Of course, all you have to do is look around and see that. He left His fingerprints on every living thing.
(FM) Your right. Now imagine this. At the exact moment of your death, you are transformed to another dimension so to speak, and there is the person whom you despise most in your life. That person needs your help for whatever it is. (For example, you despise someone who stole from you. This person is hungry and you can buy him or her a meal. Something along those lines). Now you do not know that you are actually dead. You have to make a decision. What would happen if you decided not to help that person. What would be the repercussions if that was your judgement?
(ME) I had this dumb look on my face. FM could tell that he lost me. So i said "What makes you think that would happen on our judgement?
(FM) Ray, can you recite the Lord's Prayer? IF you can, recite it to me
(ME) Our Father, who art in Heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on Earth as it is Heaven. Give us this day, our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us...
(FM) Stop. You are asking God to forgive you as you forgive others. If you are not willing to forgive, then you are asking God not to forgive you. Hence the test. That is why it is dangerous to live with hate in your heart.
After a lengthy discussion, FM said that no one knows what happens upon our death. But if his scenario was to play out, having hate in our heart is a bad thing. This is why we must forgive people and learn to love our fellow man.
So now when i pray the Lord's prayer, it makes me stop and think about who i still hold a grudge against. Then i start thinking about all the people who may hold a grudge against me. I have done some mean things to people that i am truly sorry for. I have to live with that and the possibility that on someones final judgement, i have created hate in their heart. When the whole of this concept settled on me, it hit me hard. I feel bad about some of the things i have done and said to people. I wonder sometimes if i should contact them and try to make amends like in a 12 step program. I just don't know.....