Is My Friend Now In Heaven

download (74)After two previous mini-strokes, my friend finally succumbed to cardiac arrest a couple of months ago.

Christmas has an eerie way of making our thoughts meander, like a flowing stream flowing downhill. And one of those that stood out was a co-worker and a close buddy I find difficult to forget for two reasons:

First, he was one of those guys who come into your life with a smile. He was always willing and ready to give a helping hand, always with a grin on his face, and always ready for an intelligent discussion of a wide array of subjects.

Second: he was lovably rotund. You know, like a balloon. I loved poling his stomach. He looked like an over-aged cherub.

When I met him, he was already obese. Many years later (we parted ways for career change reasons), I was shocked to see him again. He had grown to astronomical proportions.

“My God, what have you done to yourself? Do you want to die early?” I instinctively exclaimed. He just gave me his typical grin as if saying, “God will take care of me.”

He was deeply religious, the born-again type, and has entrusted everything to God. One time I asked him if he believes in Heaven. With excitement in his voice, he boomed, “Of course I do. In fact, we are all destined to go to Heaven – even you.”

I just said, “Wow!” (I don’t believe in the Biblical Heaven where good souls supposedly go).

Well, God did not only take care of him, He took him away, – from his family at age 54.

Religious or not, deaths that age are always tragic, especially if they leave behind a grieving and homebound widow with kids who have not finished college yet.

The faithful will take his death as God’s will. But was his being overly obese also of God?

Obesity is not of Faith but Neglect:

I confess I have a beef against obese people. Outside of hormonal imbalance, I think it is a result of laziness and overeating.

While I admire people with deep religious convictions, I believe it is asking too much from God to make them healthy while they indulge in unhealthy habits.

Indulging in excessive food is at odds with deep faith.

In Proverbs 23:2:

And put a knife to your throat if you are given to appetite.

Is obesity a sin, then? says it is not. Regardless of how you define “fat,” it is not a sin. Then it argues:

“Some people claim that being overweight is a sin because the Bible clearly states that the body is the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6.19). However, we must ask, who determines the standard for overweight and who defines sin? The Bible does not say that being overweight is a sin, so we should never label something as sin when the Bible does not.”

While the argument looks logical on the surface, it ruefully absolves people of jeopardizing their health through excessive weight. Like this reader who commented:

“I have been avoiding mirrors because of my appearance and the constant reminder that I am disappointing God. Thanks for helping me release that guilt.”

In effect she absolved herself from the guilt of being fat, but not for becoming fat. I am lost in the sense here.

It also conveniently brushed aside the reasons that make people obese, which, by and large, are frowned upon by the Bible.

Here are a few examples:

3 John 1:2: Beloved I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul.

Proverbs 30:8: Remove far from me falsehood and lying; give me neither poverty nor riches, feed me with the food that is needful for me.

Galatians 5:16: But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.

Finally in Genesis 2:4 – 3:2:… Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.

Of course, we know how Eve was made – from Adam’s ribs.

Contextually, therefore, God did not make Man and Woman obese.

Could my friend be in Heaven now?

Probably not, but he will. He is probably in Purgatory now shedding off those extra pounds he carried when he departed.

What do you think?

I retired from the corporate world as an engineering manager for Far East Operations, a position which imbued in me a profound knowledge on motivation, self-development, career planning, environment, and organizational mechanics.