A Letter To My Friend In Hell
This week we discussed Hell. We talked about how people use it as a scare tactic to get others "saved". We talked about how, while none of us have seen it first hand, most of us believe it to be a place of torture and unrest. This week wasn't as easy as last week. No one wants to talk about Hell, Heaven is so much easier. But it's funny, even though Heaven is an easier topic, people choose to talk about a million other things with their friends rather than where they may spend eternity. The whole time we were discussing Hell, I kept thinking about a good friend who I never got the chance to talk to about God. Well, let me clarify — I never took the chance. I let a million excuses and fears get in the way and I always thought I had more time — until one day I didn't. Until one day my mom called to tell me my friend was dead.
To my friend,
I know you'll never read this, but there are some things I need to say, most of all — I'm sorry.
I'm sorry life was tough for you and you constantly felt the need to escape. When we were young, escaping meant moving away after school and leaving everything behind. As we got older, that definition changed for you and turned to something darker. You lost control and I lost my voice. I didn't say anything, didn't warn you, didn't make a big deal of the path you were on because I didn't want to believe it.
I'm sorry I wasn't a better friend. There were times I saw you suffering and wanted to invite you to church, but I was afraid that simple question would change our friendship. How foolish is that? Of course it would change our friendship! But I was focused on the 50/50 chance you would say "no" and then not want anything to do with me. I didn't see the chance you would say "yes" and because of that I'll never see what could have come of it. I saw you hurting and instead of offering to pray with you, talk with you, take you to a place that I knew helped me through so many hurts — I chose to be silent. I chose to offer you a hug and say "everything will get better."
I did pray for you. You probably never knew it, but I did. And for a while I'm ashamed to say that praying for you made me feel better about the situation, like I was doing something to help. I know prayer works — I'm not saying I was wrong to pray — but it wasn't enough. You didn't need prayer alone, you needed someone to talk to. You needed someone in your life brave enough to tell you that you were going down a dangerous road. You needed a real friend.
I don't know why you chose to throw everything away. You had so much life, so much promise ahead of you. I know what it's like to want a temporary escape from the pain in life, I just don't know why you chose drugs as yours. After a while, you were too far gone for me to even reach you. I had lost my chance to tell you of a better way.
Maybe during those last few months we lost touch someone else reached out to you. Maybe someone, somewhere, did what I should have done and told you about God. Told you that Jesus died for you and loves you and it's more than just a feel-good fairy tale. Maybe in your last few moments you called out to Him. Maybe...
But I will never know with any certainty because I never spoke up. I'll never know if a simple conversation between friends could have changed your life and prevented your death. And that is something that haunts me.
I'm sorry for all those stupid little things you wish you could have said to someone you cared about before they died but never got the chance to. I'm sorry I didn't speak up before it was too late. But most of all, I'm sorry I never talked to you about God.
I know that we cannot be held responsible for the actions other choose to take. But we can be held responsible for our actions — or lack there of. If you see someone running off a cliff and don't say anything, you are responsible. If had a cure you wouldn't keep it from your friend who was dying of cancer — so why do we keep the cure for this world from those dying around us? Don't regret those words not being spoken. Don't just "leave it up to someone else." Don't find yourself writing a letter to a friend in Hell because you didn't tell them that there is another way.