[ Setting: A lush waterfall with afternoon rainbows shining. ]

FRED:       I love the rainbows in the waterfall. My mother and I used to look for rainbows all the time; signs of hope she’d say.
     You know, its been an awfully long time since I thought I would be going to heaven. I was convinced by everyone that only a very few are admitted into heaven, and all the rest would be going to hell. But looking at these rainbows, I remember my Mom. She died when I was pretty little but she gave me the impression I had some value. I sometimes pictured myself visiting her in a setting like this. I recall she said there would be “rainbows in paradise.” But it wasn’t long before I gave up on actually getting the chance to really see her again. But now I sure hope I do.

ALLEGENTIA:       There is no doubt you will see your mother again, and I bet she has a rainbow site all picked out to visit.
     It is sad you lived under such an odious belief. Men have long believed in God’s justice but are slow in trusting God’s wisdom to mete out the proper portions of both justice and mercy. All actions do have their consequences, but always will the agents of God reflect the nature of the Father with an harmonious balance of justice tempered with mercy.

FRED:       “Justice tempered with mercy” was never even considered where I came from. Pretty much everybody – my father, the preacher, my parole officer – assured me I was either worthless, a sinner, or both.

ALLEGENTIA:       The feeling you were already damned was hardly motivation to change, yet here you are. You did make an attempt to be better. Your idea of what was ‘better’ may have been distorted or meager, but you knew enough to give it a shot. Any such attempt is more valuable than you can know; it always produces some success.
     Within the hard shell of justice there is a heart of mercy. The Father knows your essence. His love absorbs and destroys sin and all the weakness resulting from it. Divine justice is sure but it is restrained, balanced, and always delayed by mercy. Eventually you will see how love encompasses both justice and mercy. Justice will prevail in relation to sin but the sinner will always be granted time to learn from their mistakes. A person can change into a better person, in part, because of their errors, or at least in spite of them. Remember the love of God saves the sinner. He desires all of his children not only to survive but also to thrive.

FRED:       I’m sure glad to hear that; it is just that my best hope was that I would never wake up again, but if I did, I would have to resign myself to some kind of god-awful punishment in hell. You can see why I am confused. After who I was how can I even be here on my way to heaven?

ALLEGENTIA:       It is no wonder you felt unworthy when people in authority accused you of unforgivable sin. Some Church elders insisted everyone, including newborn infants, of being sinners. But sin is the willful embrace of evil, something an innocent child cannot do. God is able to forgive any transgression, no matter how heinous, as long as the person seeks forgiveness. Once they do, they eventually stop piling poor choices on top of the bad ones. Heaven is set up to help you progress, to grow in grace and all good qualities.
     You, as well as all the other souls going to heaven, are here because of the values you possess. A child begins with inherent value in their nature (an embryonic soul, sometimes called grace) but as a person takes advantage of the opportunities in their lives, they enhance these basic gifts and add more sophisticated positive qualities. You lived a long enough life, and chose to be a good enough person, to make some of them a living part of your soul. Just as you built up and added to your original gifts on Earth, you will continue your life in heaven and be given more and varied options for more growth.

FRED:       OK, good.
     You said earlier there were a thousand of us with you. How many people who die get to go on, to heaven that is?

ALLEGENTIA:       There are hundreds of Transport Seraphim and thousands and thousands of souls in our convoy; over 99.9% of the recently departed.

FRED:       Maybe I am not as hopeless as I thought, but if I am not bad enough to miss out on heaven, what about people who were worse than me?

ALLEGENTIA:       You now have an opportunity to look at yourself as you are. Later you will see your soul in relation to others. This comparison will be very enlightening and oftentimes surprising. As the master said, “Everyone who exalts himself shall be humbled, while he who truly humbles himself shall be exalted.”
     In the introduction I noted there are all manner of souls, some smaller than others by their own choices. One of the consequences of sin is the hindering or even reversal of soul growth. This loss of soul mass is a result of evil choices. While on earth every person had many chances to make choices based on their unique circumstances and opportunities. Bad choices were constricting and hardening. Good choices were expanding and opening to the possibilities of more positive growth. It works the same in heaven.
     Physical death temporarily halts the development of both the good and bad person. There were people who made better choices than you, but there were also people who made more foolish choices. To be sure, the bad person with a diminished soul will begin in heaven in a more fundamental condition, but they are given an opportunity to carry on. No matter how small a chance they gave themselves, they are capable of becoming a glorious being. God does not give up on his children.

FRED:       I am very grateful for his patience but what about the really, really bad people?

ALLEGENTIA:       If there is no spiritual substance to move on, then there is no resurrection. The really, really bad people have no soul, therefore there is nothing for us to take. Their physical death was their final death. They committed cosmic suicide.

FRED:       But what about hell?

ALLEGENTIA:       The visions of those who would have God mercilessly torture his sons and daughters woefully misunderstand the Father’s loving character. Hell is a human idea brought about by a very foreshortened idea of who God really is. He is justice but not only justice. Anyone who gets to know the Person we call Father, knows it would be a ludicrous inconsistency for him to threaten his children with eternal pain to get them to focus on eternal goodness. You would not have developed the soul I see before me if you did not know God gave you freewill to find your path to the truth.
     God did not create hell. You do reap what you sow, but hellish torment need not be the harvest. We will not harm you; we will only help you.

FRED:       Man, that sure is different from the fire and brimstone teachings I heard. How do you help us?

ALLEGENTIA:       In many, many ways. First off, we will get you situated in your new life; show you the ropes. We will tell you the truth and introduce you to valuable people and angels. For instance, you will meet with Reconciliation Angels. They will show you the progress, or lack of it, you have made up to this transition point. Then they will show you your options. All the while you can concentrate on acquiring the qualities you need. You have many future adventures open to you. Heaven is a place, and a state of mind, where you can continue your soul growth.

FRED:       Okay, that sounds good, but if there is no hell, how does a person pay for their sins?

ALLEGENTIA:       One big thing you will need to clarify is what constitutes a sin. As I said earlier sin is conscious evil. Missing an opportunity was not a sin, but actively turning away from something you knew to be of value could have been.
     It sounds like you were told anyone would go to hell if they were tainted with even a small bit of imperfection, and only the perfect would go to heaven. Nobody can do everything necessary to be totally perfect in one short lifetime. There is a long way to go to get close to human perfection, much less Divine Perfection. Many assume the other side of death is the place of final judgment. Only absolutes are final. But for a finite being everything they do is flowing toward the One Reality. Everyone has the potential for growth, to become more than they were and more than they are.
     A person who could have learned courtesy but refused, still has to learn it. A person who was self-loathing will want to learn self-respect.
     Do you really think you were so bad as to turn your back on God?

FRED:       Not really, but according to the Preacher it would not take much to be dismissed from the “Joy of the ages.” I can hear him now, “Our God is a jealous God and he guards the gates of heaven with a mighty sword. There are few sheep and a great many goats.” My best was just never good enough.

ALLEGENTIA:       You have done well enough to be going to heaven. I can see you made a reasonable amount of soul progress despite such difficult attitudes surrounding you. It seems some of your original choices were to move away from the negative, but as you matured you began to see the better way was to grow toward the good. It is not hard to see where those who are loyal to the highest ideals are headed. The direction taken by the sincere of heart is upward and inward to God. Those of your brethren who focused more on the notion of fear of the Lord held themselves down. Focusing on the love of God is a superior motivator and a swifter road to righteousness.

FRED:       You know, this is the first time in a long time I’ve been told I did anything well. I appreciate you saying so. It means a lot to me. I guess it is smooth sailing from here on out, hey?

ALLEGENTIA:       Your future life will not be completely free from difficulty, and you might even describe it as suffering, but you will learn to welcome these hardships because they will teach you to live such qualities as sympathy, compassion, and patience. Many valuable qualities cannot be appreciated or appropriated except in the face of difficulty. We will help you design your new life so you will gain the values you missed out on, delayed, or actively crushed. Foundational steps are required to be accomplished before you can make much real spiritual progress.

FRED:       So there will continue to be difficulty and I will have to suffer some to learn a few things. That’s okay by me. More than anything, I am relieved I am not going to hell. I tell you though, it is very hard to shake the idea I have to pay somehow.

ALLEGENTIA:       How did you think you were going to pay?

FRED:       I got to thinking about that when you woke us up to tell us where we were going. I thought before I died there would only be a few who actual got to go to heaven and how could I realistically consider myself to be one of them? I always dreaded spending eternity in the unimaginable terror, pain, and sorrow of hell. But now I am thinking since I lucked out, and I am not going to hell after all, then maybe I would have to spend some time in agony, just to get it over with, and come out the other side clean. If I am not going to hell then is this “First Heaven” set up with some way to purge my soul of sin?

ALLEGENTIA:       I understand it is very difficult to overcome a lifetime of beliefs. When we arrive you will see for yourself why we call it heaven. And you will begin to see the extent of your potentials. The constricted view of these angry God proponents will quickly become absurd. I know you will be pleasantly surprised.
     You are, of course, accountable for any suffering you caused others. Your next life gives you a chance to get some perspective, and see how things really are. Life goes on from where you left off. Since you are familiar with suffering, you are all the more suited to recognize it wherever it resides and can work to relieve it.
     Mistakes, evil, sin, and iniquity were foreseen by God before he gave the youngest of his children freewill, and he set it up for these misguided actions to be dealt with in appropriate ways. It was no surprise to him freewill would prove to be a dangerous thing for immature souls to wield, but he also knew he did not want to fill the universe with unfeeling, un-choosing beings. It is unthinkable God would coerce his young children. He is not a bully or a trickster. If you need to forgive or be forgiven, you, with our help, will work it out.

FRED:       Somehow that reminds me of these guys I used to run with. I sure never expected to see them again, but if I get to go on, then I guess it is possible they did too. We did things together I’m not proud of; things I would change if I could.

ALLEGENTIA:       You will one day have the opportunity to see them again, although they may not be your first choice of who to look up. Eventually everyone of consequence you encountered during your life on Earth will cross paths with you (even if these seem like chance meetings, many will have been arranged by the angels). You will have fleeting contact with some and extensive discussions with others. No matter if they offended you, or you did something wrong to them, you will need to come to a mutual agreement of compensation. Justice demands a true balance be rendered and underlying inadequacies be remedied.

FRED:       Okay, tell me how this forgiveness business works.

ALLEGENTIA:       The hope for forgiveness is almost universal, but it is not automatic. Forgiveness has its consequences for both the forgiver and the one being forgiven. If you need an intermediary, there will be one on hand. If you need to make recompense, we will help referee the situation with all fairness.
     The one needing forgiveness needs to take an active role in their own forgiveness. Everyone faces the problem of self-forgiveness but, as you can imagine, the self-absorbed person usually has a more difficult time admitting their mistakes. A good self-image is essential but it must be balanced with the vision that other people also have value.
     Forgive and forget has an intervening phase: refresh. When you need forgiveness you long to hear, “You are forgiven.” You need to start taking steps toward forgiveness long before these words come your way. You cannot skip any intervening rungs, including an honest self-assessment and a willingness to take responsibility for your actions. You must recognize and feel regret for any sordid actions taken; and have a sincere intention of doing better. We will help you devise a plan of positive growth.
     As the forgiver, you should put yourself in the other person’s shoes, remembering you also made mistakes. Do you believe it wise to hope this person who hurt you is worthy of forgiveness? You need to understand and patiently wait for them to take all of their appropriate steps. How should they make up for their transgressions? What should that responsibility look like? And understand, you may have to get in line to get your due. Eventually you will be able to say, “I forgive you.”

FRED:       It sounds like I was listening to the wrong people, they told me God would do the forgiving.

ALLEGENTIA:       Many think the act of dying will somehow wipe the slate clean.
     Divine forgiveness is instantaneous because it is not subject to time. But finite forgiveness goes through a series of stages. It begins with a moral code, a Law if you will, laid down as a foundation. Justice is the blind interpretation of the law. Fairness takes into consideration the motives of each person within the situation. Patience allows sufficient time to move through the process. Kindness encourages understanding sympathy and is the impetus for forgiveness. Mercy is the attitude of love. And Love is the light to sweep away the offensive.
     Just being open to divine forgiveness rehabilitates the attitude, and all manner of good things begin to flood in. Soon the sinner will see a way to forgive themselves and others, have a new clarity to hear the voice of God’s will, be able to find the key to the vault of positive values, gain insights into the importance of prayer, adopt a position of unselfish intent, be calmed with a greater appreciation of the simple joys of existence – and more.

FRED:       I sure have a lot to learn but, thanks to you, I have a better idea of what I need to do and what opportunities I will have. I guess Mom was right about the rainbows of hope.