I had to speak at a funeral for a relative this past weekend. I don’t like sad funerals, even though it is a sad occasion. I believe a funeral should portray the heart of the person when they were living.
As I was meditating and studying God’s word today, it really dawned on me that the dead can do nothing about what is said about them at a funeral. However, most people do avoid saying something negative. De mortuis nil nisi bene [dicendum] (“Of the dead, nothing [spoken] unless good.”), comes to mind.
I began to ponder when did the tradition of speaking no ill will of the dead begin? Then I began to think about evil people like Hitler, Idi Amin, Yakubu Gowon, Pol Pot, Isabella I of Spain, Ilse Koch, and others. What good could have been said at their funeral? I still did not have an answer until I was preparing a newsletter about the fire power of the tongue. Isn’t the Holy Spirit amazing? Here’s the answer received-
James 4:11-12– Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaketh evil of his brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law: but if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge. There is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy: who art thou that judgest another?
Do you know what else the Holy Spirit revealed to me? Ephesians 4:29–Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. In other words beloved, the dead cannot hear what anyone says about them. Therefore it is in the best interest of the speaker to edify those hearers in attendance. Why take a chance on running off those that need to hear about God’s saving grace? Sometimes attending a funeral is the only time some step foot inside a church.
The moment I began speaking, the Holy Spirit guided my speech. Luke 12:12 comes to mind- “For the Holy Ghost shall teach you in the same hour what ye ought to say.” Grace was ministered to those in hearing distance of my voice. To my surprise, the opening scriptures and prayer by the first pastor and the eulogy delivered by another pastor fell in line with the scriptures and words I had used. This confirmed to me, that the Holy Spirit was in control. The pastor that delivered the eulogy told me after the funeral -“You opened it up for the Spirit to minister to those not saved, brought some peace to the family. You preached well about his character. You really put laughter into the hearts of many, and you brought me on out to bring home the message while the Holy Spirit closed it on out. You brought it out! That’s all God.”
I shared this not to brag on self, nor others, but to brag on the Holy Spirit working through us all to deliver one message. No corrupt communication, please. Corrupt communication does not edify its hearers nor does it glorify God. (TYHS) Let me tell, you, there is no greater feeling than knowing that God is glorified through the things we say about others and that others lost learn about God’s saving grace. Allow me to share with you my closing words for the hearers:
We have lost a brother, though he had problems; was still a strong-willed and VERY intelligent person. We all have problems. A brother who was unable to deal with those problems- because of crouching sin-but you know what God told Cain in Genesis 4:7- “If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.” Sin is crouching at everyone’s door, that’s a problem for each and everyone in this world, everyone in these pews and on this platform so don’t ever think one soul is holier than the other. _________ was unable to rule over that crouching sin, But God knew his heart and his struggles. There is nothing in our lives that is hidden from God. From here on, God is in control of ____ rest. We have the memories.
To everyone within the range of my voice, hear what the Holy Spirit says- never become blind or deaf to those that need the Lord; that need your help; that need your prayers. Contrary to what we may think, or what we think we know, everybody doesn’t know how to or know when to call upon the Lord. That’s when the children of God step in for the Lord to do His will. We stop letting mammon’s (cars, money, houses, jobs) rule over our life. God did not breathe life into us for us to worship things, nor to let things rule over us. We are here to serve the Lord and the Lord only. (ok, so it got quiet when I said that… so quiet that you would have been able to hear the church mouse eating cheese back in the fellowship hall) 🙂
Be that light for those you see hurting, especially those who are quietly hurting that need your help. Serving the Lord comes first. Christians have been given authority to teach others to obey what Jesus has commanded. That means serving and helping those who are lost, those who are struggling with addictions, sickness, with financial or mental issues. Sin is crouching at your door too. No thing and no one can replace a loved one that no longer breathes in our midst. There is nothing anyone living can do for the dead, no one but the Lord.
And for those who have not given themselves to Christ, now is the time for you to come to Him. It’s not enough just to be labeled a “good person” or even think yourself as a “good person.” Death and sin have no preferences. Death and sin DOES NOT care whether you are good, broken, rich, poor, pretty or ugly. Jesus does care- giving over your life to Jesus will guarantee eternal life in His kingdom-that’s God’s preference. Come to him, because He will be coming at any moment for you too. Prepare yourself, for He will be with you always even when death and sin is crouching at your door.
My brother, may he rest in peace. Lord, have mercy on his soul. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Amen
Thank you for stopping by and may you be blessed.