Thursday, March 13, 2008

I cannot remember when...that day, my mind was on the issue of death. It might seem weird that a twenty-something-year-old would think of such a topic. But death is something that is part of life, isn't it? We all have to face death at least once in our lifetime, right? Some of us have the opportunity to face death more than once in our lifetime (e.g. because of illness), some of us face death only once in our lifetime.

I can't say which one of the groups of people is more blessed. I think both groups are blessed in their own way. Now, you must be thinking that I am crazy, right? 神经病,有毛病,对吗? How can a person who has grappled with death more than once be blessed? Who wants to go through that kind of scenario, right? Like your life is hanging in the balance, on a thin thread. You can 'go' anytime. It's not what a normal person would want to go through.. And what about your family? They go through much pain as they walk that path with you. You are right. But for a person to go through something like that, yet survive, it's like being given a new lease of life. Not only that, living becomes......different. Living takes on a whole new perspective. That's valuable and I think many of us need that kind of perspective.

What do you think is on the mind of a person who is on his/her deathbed? ok, let's cut a bit of slack here. What do you think is going on in a person who is faced with the possibility of death in the near future? I would think certain things become more important and certain things becomes less important. What are these things? Family becomes more important. Relationships becomes more important. Money becomes less important. School grades become less important. Material possessions become less important. What do we see here? Interestingly, our priorities become reversed! Ain't that amazing?

Of course, I am not saying here that all of us have the same priorities in life as what is described above. But it might be true for some people, right? Sometimes, we work until very late, whether studying or working in the office, sometimes skipping dinner with our family or loved ones. I am not saying that it's wrong to work. Just that, it is interesting to see what really matters to us deep down and what is really important and valuable to us.

At the end of the day (or our life in this case), the value of what were important to us seem to diminish in comparison to that which seemed to be not so important to us in the past.

Same for our eternal destiny..When we are alive and kicking, well and in the pink of health, we don't think of what is going to happen to us after death. It is only when we are hit with the possibility of our death in the near future like a tsunami, that we ponder about the question 'what's next after life?' Hopefully, when you are faced with this scenario, you would ponder about that question! :)

It's scary, you know, to lie in bed, knowing that you can just leave this world anytime (e.g. you are suffering from a terminal illness), and not know after you shut your eyes for the last time, where you will be going next? I have not been through that kind of near-death experience, but I can imagine. It must be frightening.

Where will you end up? Will you end up in a place without the presence of God, in a place called Hell, like what your Christian friends have been gently telling you? Will you end up in Heaven, like what you would want to believe? Or will you end up in front of the Lord of Hades, waiting to sort you in one of 18 levels of hell or waiting to decide what will you be in your next life? Will you end up in a state of eternal sleep? Or just non-existence? Which one is true???

For us, Christians, it's a pretty clear picture. After death, we get to spend an eternity with God. And He will wipe away all our tears. There won't be any suffering, pain and unhappiness. And all these is because God sent His one and only Son, Jesus Christ, to die on the cross for my sins, paying the penalty for my sins, so that I do not have to receive the punishment that I deserve because of my sins, but am received by God as His child, into His family, cleansed by the work of Christ on the cross.

For all of us reading this post, if you are a non-Christian, maybe you have not made a decision on which one to believe or maybe you have already made a decision. But let me tell you this: Your decision - what you choose to believe - is going to impact you. It will have implications. So don't say that all religions lead you to God. No, they don't. Because if 'A' is true, 'non-A' cannot be true. That is the basic law of non-contradiction. For example, belief '1' says that you have to rely on A + B to go to Heaven, while belief '2' says that you only have to rely on doing A to go to Heaven. If belief '1' is true, then belief '2' has to be wrong. If belief '2' is true, then belief '1' has to be wrong. It is the same thing as saying 'Jane was in school at 10 am' and 'Jane was at home at 10 am'. If you believe that Jane was in school at 10 am, you cannot believe that Jane was at home at 10 am. It just doesn't make any logical sense for both to be true at the same time!

What I am trying to say is that there can only be one truth with regards to where you are going after death and which path do you need to take to get to that destination. This is serious stuff, major decision to make. So where does this leave us? My advice? Start searching now for the truth. Does your particular belief answer the questions of life? Does it make sense? Some people I know practice a particular religion because their parents practice it in the first place. But I have the impression that they seldom think if what they are doing makes any sense at all. Seek the truth, people. Seek it like your life depends on it, because it does.

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