What God Asks You in Heaven

By Keith Varnum

A spiritual teacher quizzes me, “Do you know what God’s going to ask you when you die?”

I can’t imagine that anyone knows the answer to this “impossible” question. Yet my mentor is sincere. From past encounters, I know that he isn’t going to hold his breath waiting for me to dig up an answer. And sure enough, he proposes a response that changes my life!

The Greatest Question Ever Asked

My teacher suggests that God will greet each of us with the only question that really matters: 

“How well did you love?”

The power of this remark electrifies every atom of my being. After all, what other purpose is more important to an individual’s evolution? For the betterment of humanity? For harmonious environmental and planetary solutions? Bottom line, what other goal is there for being alive? 

What is Love? 

My mentor’s questions fuel my desire to explore—and embody—what love really is. How does a person “love well?” 

One of my favorite role models of love is Mr. Rogers of the Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood TV show. By example, he illustrates how we can express authentic love in ways that uplift people. He’s probably still at the Pearly Gates answering the question, “How well did you love?” After the way he lived his life, he has a lot to share. 

Even though Mr. Rogers has passed on, his show continues to be a resource for how to “love well.” On each program Mr. Rogers demonstrates how to be kind, open, humorous, flexible and compassionate. He displays honest emotions and walks his talk. He supports everyone just as they are—and at the same time, knows they are greater than their limiting beliefs!  

Four Key Elements of Love 

This “Master of Love” weaves his magic by modeling these four essential elements of real love: 

1. Be intuitive. Use your heart—not your rational mind—to know what’s really going on with other people. When a child screams at his parents, “I hate you!” the parents intuitively know that the child feels hurt, afraid or upset. The parents respond by talking calmly with the child until they discover the cause of the flare-up. Adults also say words they don’t mean when they feel hurt, fearful or confused. When we use our hearts—not our logic—to respond to emotional outbursts from others, we offer more compassionate and helpful assistance.

2. Uplift energy. In any human interaction, the greatest service we can perform for others and ourselves is to increase the aliveness of every person involved. Raising the energy and vitality of people and activities makes living more meaningful and fun. Observe if people feels better after their interaction with you? Is their enjoyment of an activity enhanced by your behavior?

3. Foster freedom. Do you give people the space to follow their spirit? Can you let go of hopin’ and wishin’ that others will change? On a deep unconscious level, people can sense even the slightest degree of your wanting them to be different. When people feel unaccepted, they close their hearts to protect themselves. Then you experience feeling shut out, disconnected, alone. To open the door to love, give others the freedom to be just the way they are.

4. Notice results. Pay attention to what people do—not to what people say they will do. People’s actions reveal their true intentions. Some people interact in loving ways, yet don’t use the words of kindness we expect to hear. These truly compassionate folks may not verbally express love well, but they demonstrate care-fullness with every action they take. Other people talk a good game, but their actions show that they aren’t truly caring. These less-than-compassionate people can woo us with all the perfect terminology, but the truth is disclosed when they fail to follow through. Don’t let words fool or confuse you. Watch what folks do! 

Loving Yourself

“You can’t give someone something that you don’t possess. Therefore, you can’t give someone something that you haven’t first given to yourself,” my spiritual mentor accurately observes.  

It’s impossible to give love to another person without loving yourself first. Without an authentic personal experience of love to draw from, you can only share a vague idea of what love is.  

If you practice the four elements of love, you’ll have a personal experience of love to impart to others. Check out the four elements of love from a more personal point of view. Ask yourself:

  1. “Do I use my intuition with myself? When I feel emotional, do I
    explore deeper to find out what’s really going on? Am I kind to myself?”

  2. “Do the people and projects I chose to be involved with enhance my joy of being alive? Do I increase my vitality by the way I live my life? Or do I waste my energy on people and ventures that lower my zest for living?”

  3. “Do I give myself the freedom to follow my heart? To express my spirit? Or do I close my own heart by judging myself, wishing I was different?”

  4. “Do I actually do what I say I’m going to do? Do I actively create more abundance and happiness for myself or only talk about building a better life? Do I fool myself by talking a good game yet never taking action?”

The more you embody the essential qualities of love, the more you can assist others to be happy—and the better conversation you’ll have with God at the Pearly Gates!