Oh, did I type that outloud?
As a pastor, one of the hardest things to do is perform a funeral, especially for a family member. So as I sit here and wonder, if I was asked to perform this funeral, what would I say? What could I say? It would probably be different if I didn’t know the person who had past, but I did, I knew her. What would I say? What could I say?
I could say she was good person, because she was. But I know what I couldn’t say.
I could say she was a very nice and giving person, because she was. But I know what I couldn’t say.
I could say she was a great cook, Oh yes she was! And taught my wife everything she knew. But I know what I couldn’t say.
She was always so excited to have us over, just to talk and spend time with her. But I know what I couldn’t say.
She was always interested in the lives of our kids, our jobs, our future. But I know what I couldn’t say.
I could say so many wonderful things about this wonderful woman. But I know what I couldn’t say.
I couldn’t say the one thing most heard at funerals “She is in a better place now”
Oh how I would love to be able to say it without a doubt, but I can’t. I can’t say it because I fear that I would be lying to myself and to everyone.
Now please don’t come yelling at me that I am playing God and that I don’t know for sure because only God knows. And that I would agree, I don’t know for sure. I don’t know and that is the problem.
But what I do know is what the Bible says are the evidences in one’s life that would be the mark of a true Christian and then and only then I could say those words.
But not in this case, I just couldn’t. I can’t
You see the Bible says that a true Christian, one who has surrendered their life to Christ and claim salvation on the finished work of Christ on the cross, and these people will look different from the world. They will love like Christ loved. They will deny themselves and take up their cross.
They would desire Christ above all things.
They would hunger and thirst for righteousness.
They would be in God’s Word, the Bible, all the time.
They would have repented of past wrongs and turned to Christ.
They would live a life of repentance.
They would seek forgiveness from God and others.
They would always speak of Jesus in any and all conversations.
They would desire to worship with other believers at a Bible believing church whenever the doors were open.
They would warn those around them, especially friends and family, to repent and believe the Gospel, because in the end Christ will either be your Savior or your Judge.
Every family has skeletons in the closet, some more than other. There are really bad things done by you and really bad things done to you, those are the things that are brought on us by the curse of Genesis 3. It is called sin and most families try to cover up, pretend those skeletons aren’t there, they lie to themselves and everyone else because of another sin…Pride. Let me tell you family, you’re not that good, actually you’re not good at all, just ask the Apostle Paul in Romans
The Bible says “No one is good, no not one…” Goodness is only found in Christ, Righteousness is only found in Christ Jesus and apart from Him eternity will be spent in Hell. Yes I said it, in Hell. Not something you want to hear at a funeral. But I would not be loving if I didn’t warn you of hell.
Why does so much guilt and shame have to turn into hate when one of their own speaks the truth. Why must they run and hide. I cry out to them run to the cross and turn over all the guilt and shame and become a new creation.
But it is truth, whether you like it or not.
So what would I say…..
I would say, heaven is real
I would say the kingdom of God is at hand, repent and believe the Gospel. Today is the day of Salvation.
I would say nothing is covered up that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. So humble yourself, get off your high horse and take responsibility and let the healing begin.
I would say that God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil.
I would say TRUE LOVE won 2000 years ago on a cross, when Christ yelled out “IT IS FINISHED”
I would say TRUE LOVE warns. And we warned the family, we warned them so much that they have basically kicked us out of the family.
We warned them so much we have been threatened by the family if we show up to the funeral. The threats I write off as juvenile, pathetic and sad but what is most heartbreaking thing is they believe their own lies. They are blind to the truth. Jesus is the ONLY WAY, the ABSOLUTE TRUTH, and ETERNAL LIFE.
“And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil.” Those in darkness want nothing to do with light. Jesus is the light of the world. “For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.” Run to the cross, run to Jesus.
“The cross is foolishness to those who are perishing.” And it is so sad to see them perish.
So Saturday I will hit my knees and weep while I cry out to God to forgive me and to help me forgive them. I will pray for their hearts, for their salvation. I will pray for healing of the family. I will pray that the light will shine brightly in this world and hearts will be broken and they will run to the cross and be born again.