Forgiveness Thursday – On Death

“Blessed [gratefully praised and adored] be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort, who comforts and encourages us in every trouble so that we will be able to comfort and encourage those who are in any kind of trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For just as Christ’s sufferings are ours in abundance [as they overflow to His followers], so also our comfort [our reassurance, our encouragement, our consolation] is abundant through Christ [it is truly more than enough to endure what we must]. But if we are troubled and distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; or if we are comforted and encouraged, it is for your comfort, which works [in you] when you patiently endure the same sufferings which we experience. And our hope for you [our confident expectation of good for you] is firmly grounded [assured and unshaken], since we know that just as you share as partners in our sufferings, so also you share as partners in our comfort.”
‭‭2 CORINTHIANS‬ ‭1:3-7‬ ‭AMP‬‬

Happy Thursday!  It’s a great time to seek forgiveness and to forgive others.

The older I grow, the more funerals I attend.  This week two funerals are on my agenda.  The hardest funerals for me are the ones where a child has died, and ones where intense grief is expressed.  I also, out of selfishness, sometimes have trouble getting through funerals where I think the person was not a Christian, or that remind me of a something similar. Finally, I have a difficult time with funerals where sad music is played.

In Genesis 5:22-24 we learn that Enoch was taken to heaven without dying.  Second Kings 2:11 tells us that Elijah was taken up to heaven in a whirlwind.  There maybe others, but the majority of us are not getting out of this life without dying.  It’s something we all have to do.  That doesn’t really take away fear related to death.

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As Christians we know that when our earthly life is over, we will continue on a spiritual journey.  This brings me great comfort, because I’m looking forward to serving God in a new capacity.  That provides personal comfort, but what about when someone we know passes?  The emotional pain can be more than any physical pain we have ever known.  I’ve heard people say that they lost a piece of their heart.  It’s a pain that doesn’t go away quickly.  In my own life, I’ve found myself looking for the one who passed, knowing good and well they aren’t here anymore.  I miss them so much.  That’s when we have to be comforted by knowing that through Christ’s sufferings we will see our loved ones again.  It’s like, as Billy Graham said, “changing addresses”.  So, if our loved ones are Christians, we will see them and rejoice in heaven.  That’s nice to know.  We still have to go through the grieving process, which can be very difficult.  We still miss our loved ones.  Yet, there is hope around the corner that we will be reunited.

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Over time I have found myself struggling with loss of adult family and friends who I feel certain were not Christians.  As much as we may sometimes want to force people to make the right choice, we can’t.  Everyone has a choice.  Yet, sometimes people accept Christ as their personal savior in their last moments.  There are other people who might not want you to be aware of their decisions.  At the end of the day, it is their choice.  Always remember that none of us are promised tomorrow.  Make the most of your time in the best ways possible.  Be the best Christian you can be.  Then, when a family member passes, celebrate their life.  Don’t mourn their death.  Remember the good times and their contributions.

If you have lost a loved one, give yourself time to grieve.  It’s normal.  Let people help you.  Read the scriptures and celebrate the passing of your loved one.   Praise God with your every breath and know that your spiritual life will be unbelievable!  God bless you!

 

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8 Comments Add yours

  1. I deal with death on a regular basis as a hospice chaplain. Thank you for addressing this subject! I especially love the song you chose. Elevation Worship is one of my faves.

    1. I love Elevation Worship. Thank you.

  2. As believers, one of the most difficult things that we face is the funeral of an unbeliever. I had a great aunt (my Father’s aunt) who I dearly loved and spent many of the holiday’s, special trips like a ten day trip to Disney in Florida with my sister and her family, my parents, my aunt and me. Along with big family dinners.

    When my aunt was a young girl, her parents took the whole family to a little country church. Over the process of time, the Minister had an affair with the organist, and the two of them left the church. This affair resulted in my aunt’s parents leaving the church, and when religion was brought up my aunt would say that she was a good person and felt that as a result, God would let her into heaven when she died. Those of us within that family that had a relationship with Christ spoke with my aunt, and I witnessed to her directly. I was one of her favorite nephews, so I had her ear for a while, but she shut down to me as well.

    I have another aunt who is a believer, and she says that this aunt received Christ as her savior but I never saw any evidence and she did not want to talk about the Lord. I am not her judge (anyone else for that matter), but I never had any peace about it. She passed away, and the funeral was extremely hard. I did not have any interaction with her in the last decade of her life because she had dementia and two of the other aunts moved in to care for her. The other aunts cut us all off saying that this great aunt was not well.

    At the time I had no understanding about Dementia, so I presured the other aunts to let me see her. They would not allow it, and the funeral was a closed casket. Honestly with what I know now I am glad that they kept us away. The funeral service was brutal because I had no peace that she knew the Lord. The minister did not even know this aunt but was hired by one of the other aunts. He presented the funeral as if she were a lifelong believer. I sobbed through the whole thing as by then my Father was gone and my Mom was not long for this world.

    Thankfully my parents knew the Lord, so I will see them again. I am praying that I will see this aunt again but to be honest with you I will be surprised if I do. A wonderful surprise but that will be the case regarding this aunt.

    If you had known her, she was everything that a believer is supposed to be but without the Lord. She was moral, and her standards were higher than many of those in the church. She did not gossip, snip, judge, or critisize. she was extremely loving and giving and she embraced everyone. I know what your thinking. She must have known the Lord. This great aunt was this way all of her life.

    I miss her terribly, and a precious gift will be that I am wrong. I understand loss. I faced the loss of distant aunts and uncles, both grandfathers, then both grandmothers. The most significant loss was that of my precious sister. She was killed in an accident in 1991, and I still tear up thinking about her. Then it was my awesome Father, brother, sweet sister-in-law and finally my precious Mom. The only thing that holds me here is my incredible wife. So I guess I’ll say that you picked a hot button topic and you handled with care. Blessings, Gary

    1. Hi Gary. I’m so sorry for your losses. You are right. Good works aren’t enough. Yet, maybe your aunt accepted Christ without your knowledge. My father never believed and one day he started speaking with me about the Bible. While he he is a baby Christian at best, he’s on the road and he didn’t make it public. I sometimes wish I could choose for others, but God allows us to make the choice. Funny how people can believe in the craziest things, but just can’t make the right decision about the most important decision in their life. I will pray for your comfort on these issues and I’m glad you are blessed with a wonderful wife.

  3. So very true. What advice would you give a believer whose afraid of death or have that fear of losing a family member. Especially when he/she is not saved.
    Blessings & grace!

    1. For a believer afraid of death, I would let them know that there is nothing to fear. As we grow closer to God and study His word, we lose that fear. It’s easier to say than to do, but that is my experience. It’s about faith. As for a person who is not saved, that’s a little tougher. In John 4 Jesus talks about the workers in the field. I first pray for the person and do what I can to help them. If that doesn’t work, I pray that God will send workers from the field (Christians with whom this person will relate better). In my experience, especially with family and friends, I am not always the person they will listen to. At the end of the day, it’s a choice we all have to make. It seems so simple. Yet, so many people choose unwisely. It can be heartbreaking. I’m so glad He wipes away all the tears.

      1. Amen and Amen! Thank you so much for your advice and encouragement, through the wisdom of God upon you! Blessings & grace!

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