Recently, I attended a funeral church service for a young man who had taken his own life. It was a sad occasion for us all and especially for the young man’s family. When the 83 year old priest spoke, I seriously wondered what he could possibly say that might bring comfort to the family and friends present.
His words were a revelation to me. He recounted many of the good things the young man had performed during his life for his family and the community and concentrated his talk on the ways he had helped and served others.
The priest spoke of a loving God who had been with the young man throughout his short life and who, he believed, would never abandon him because of a serious mistake he made at the end. He recounted how Jesus had already died for our sins and wanted only to love us into eternity. I left that church with a better understanding of a God who loves us, rather than one who sits in judgement of our faults and failings.
Since that day I have often thought back over that experience and have come to the realisation that death should not be feared and that it is possible to actually embrace the thought of an eternal life. Death is something we should openly talk about. It is seen by many as a taboo subject and if we raise the concept in a conversation, we are considered to be morbid and often advised to pick on a brighter subject.
Some people just see it as inevitable and prefer to put it out of their mind until faced with its reality. Others either don’t believe in life after death or prefer not to think it might exist. While others are just plain scared about the thought of being judged for what they have done during their life.
If there is a genuine sorrow in our hearts for the things in our life we could have done better, then our God must see and understand this. There is no doubt we will be judged after death. A look at scripture can give us the answer (Matt.25:31-46). Without wishing to make this process seem too simplistic, it appears that the only criteria we will need to address is the answer to the Lord’s question, “What have you done for me”.
Our loving God accepts our human failings, but certainly would have a long memory when it comes to keeping a record of the ‘things we have done for Him’. Let us try not to fear death, for death can be the beginning of an exciting new awakening for us in a place that has been waiting for us since we were created.
I’m Peter Mack and that’s the way it is.