I am a thirty-four year-old woman…. I had a difficult time with my studies because I had to work at the same time, so I finally dropped out of the university. I was afraid to tell my father that I had quit school, so I lied and told him that I had finished my degree.
He passed away recently, and I have a horrible load of guilt on my conscience. I don’t know if my father might lose eternal life on account of that sin of mine, because he believed in me. Please help me not to be so depressed about this!
You did the right thing by telling us your story. Yes, we can help you.
Your conscience is bothering you because you told your father a lie, and now it is too late to make it right by telling him the truth. But it is good that you realize that the emotional pain your conscience is making you experience is caused by the guilt that you feel. And that guilt is a signal that indicates that you have a heart that is open to hear what God wants to say to you.
However, someone has given you wrong information. You are confused about eternal life and what it takes for a person to go to heaven. You think that your lie may keep your father from enjoying eternal life.
Whether or not your father is in heaven has absolutely nothing to do with your lie. Your sin could never affect his eternal life; it only affects your eternal life. You feel guilty because God is urging you to repent of your own sin, and to receive forgiveness in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, who died on the cross for all of your own sins. But because you are grieving over your father at the same time that you are feeling guilty for your lie, your emotions have gotten all mixed together.
The Apostle Paul wrote, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”1 Notice that it is the person who calls, or prays, believing that the Lord Jesus Christ will save him or her, who will be saved. No one else can prevent or change that. Your father’s eternal life depends on whether he chose to accept Jesus Christ as his Savior, and whether he asked God to forgive his sins in Jesus’ name. Your father won’t lose eternal life because of your choices, and you won’t lose eternal life because of your father’s choices.
When we choose to be forgiven by Christ, we no longer have anything to be guilty for. He paid the penalty for our sins by dying on the cross, so that payment completely cancels out our sin. We are not guilty anymore. Ask God to cancel your sin and your guilt today. There’s no reason to wait any longer.
We wish you the best,
1 Ro 10:1