Once upon a time, there was a man who had been the soul of kindness all his life.
When he died, everyone assumed that he would go straight to Heaven, for the only possible place for a good man like him was Paradise.
The man wasn’t particularly bothered about going to Heaven, but that was where he went.
Now in those days, service in Heaven was not all that it might be.
The reception desk was extremely inefficient, and the angel who received him gave only a cursory glance through the index cards before her and when she couldn’t find the man’s name, she sent him straight to Hell.
And in Hell no one asks to check your badge or your invitation, for anyone who turns up is invited in.
The man entered and stayed.
Some days later, Lucifer stormed up to the gates of Heaven to demand an explanation from St. Peter.
“What you’re doing is pure terrorism!” he said. “You sent that man down into Hell, and he’s completely undermining me!
“Right from the start, there he was listening to people, looking them in the eye, talking to them.
“And now everyone’s sharing their feelings and hugging and kissing.
“That’s not the sort of thing I want in Hell! Please, let him into Heaven!”
When he finished telling the story, he looked at me fondly and said:
‘Live your life with so much love in your heart that if, by mistake, you were sent to Hell, the Devil himself would deliver you up to Paradise.’
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Lucifer is a fallen angel who was banished by God from Heaven.