Could a child convince you that heaven is real?
"In heaven, everybody's young."
Everything in the movie Heaven Is For Real is unbelievable. Wonderfully unbelievable to rational adults who have spent their lives hearing about heaven and hell and listening to debates about it from one side or the other. Should we believe? Should we not? Is it a crutch for people who need that something to get through the day, or are faith and angels and heaven real? If we listened to our children would we be more apt to believe? Can children prove heaven is for real?
This provocative movie is a conversation starter that Christians and non-Christians should see. An insight into a possible reality that some of us want so desperately to believe in.
Imagine if the movie is right. That the children that we love, the ones we say would never make up things like adults do, that are innocent and untarnished by the rhetoric that we spew really know the truth? "Would you live your life differently?"
Better yet, would we believe them? The way the story is told, I can not help but believe that this child really did go to heaven. In fact, if he were my child, I would believe him based on his accounts, recollections and innocent memories.
I personally believe in God. But I don't go to church regularly, I don't get down on my knees and pray everyday and I tell people that my relationship with God is between me and Him. But I teach my children to pray and believe and to reach out to him when they are confused, scared or happy. I want them to have that. That other source of strength when things are hard. But if they told me they went to heaven, would I believe them?
In the film, a little boy suffers an illness that causes him to undergo a serious operation. While on the table he leaves his body and floats above. When he wakes and starts sharing his experiences and that he went to heaven, met Jesus and many relatives he could not have known, his minister father is probably the most skeptical. As Greg Kinnear, the father, talks to trusted friends about what his son says, they mock him. But as his son reveals more, it makes it almost impossible not to believe him.
Many of us know that children are our most precious resource. Our most honest of citizens. The filter-less voices of what life should be like. We often see old things new in their eyes. So if one or two or 10 claim to see heaven, why would we not believe them?
The movie balances the delicate dance between a child's experience and an adult's knowledge. We all want concrete evidence and this child's experience gives it to this family and this town. Despite that, questions remain.
Heaven Is For Real is not a religious movie. It is a movie that is meant to spark a conversation about life, love and the things that get us through the day. It is a beautifully shot film with ups and downs. I was impressed with the storyline, the explanation of events and the family-friendly message it sends. Now that I have seen it, I want my kids to as well. I think this is a really good conversation starter with an uplifting message that everyone should see, regardless of their own relationship with God.
Heaven Is For Real is now available on DVD, On Demand and in your local rental box now.
Disclosure: This post is part of a collaboration with Sony and SheKnows. All my ideas are 100 percent my own.
Photo credit: small_frog/ E+/ Getty Images