I hate going to funerals. I am confident it isn’t for the same reasons as most people. It isn’t because death freaks me out. I’m well acquainted with death; I’ve had family close to me die, friends and others. The Christian faith is centered over developing a life that recognizes death; it comes for everyone and none can predict when or how. We all need the Savior and a reason to live!
I hate funerals because of the lying. Relatives lie and so do pastors. I always hear the same lies. I understand speaking well of the dead. I understand how family tends to wish relatives to Heaven. I’m not sure it would work well at the memorial telling the family that their beloved is in misery. This subject would need to be handled delicately and humbly and probably before the event. But this shouldn’t keep the Pastor from telling the truth.
I know pastors do not feel like liars. A pastor told me at the most recent memorial “Well today I am just going to tell the truth.” I smiled and said “Good.” but I was silently skeptical. Off course he wouldn’t tell lies knowingly. He just can’t help it because he tells the same unwitting lie each Sunday; like most pastors.
Of course at the memorial he avoided talking about the youth’s lifestyle, manner of death or eternal destiny. It makes sense; it would be a great challenge to address this in a beneficial way. The family testified with confidence that the youth was in a better place; he believed in Jesus.
After the announcements, testimonies, and video presentation the pastor boldly stated “If you believe in Jesus; who he is, what he says and what he did, you’ll go to Heaven!” He left it to God and the people to decide what happened with the high-schooler. He played it safe. That makes sense.
Then it dawned on me “What if they are right?” What if all I had to do was believe? Had I wasted the last 22 years of my life? I decided then! I was convinced! They were right!
That day I decided to change my life. I would live my life as was alluded to by the pastor and believed by those at the memorial. I had been so foolish! After the memorial I decided to quit going to church and reading my Bible. I’m going back to my previous life of self-interest. I’ll pray when I’m in a tight spot. I’ll enjoy the rest of my life unencumbered by Christianity. If all these people who “believe in Jesus” are going to Heaven then I’ll be just fine.
Maybe I’ll get drunk and watch TBN this Sunday, heck maybe I’ll go to a Sports bar instead…”God knows my Heart.” I believe who Jesus is, what Jesus says and what Jesus did!
Obviously this is written with tongue-in-cheek; this is what I could have concluded after the message. However, I write this not to make fun of but to expose this damning half-truth.
Here is the truth: only those who do the will of God are the believers the pastor was alluding to. Faith will result in the Jesus lifestyle. I didn’t use the word Christian because it has been perverted. There are many renditions of Christianity: religious types, hypocrites, and those blasphemous lives-confessing Jesus with their mouth but denying Him with their lifestyle.
Here are a couple scriptures:
1 John 2:6 Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did. NIV
Matt 7:21-23 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ NIV
You can read. What do you conclude?
Yep, everyone left happily believing the youth is in Heaven. They heard the pastor’s partial message, saw the life of the youth, had heard the same message at church before and witnessed the same scenario in other memorials. They saw the room agree together that the youth went to Heaven. It was exactly what everyone expected and wanted to hear. Everyone was as content as could be at a memorial!
So, technically the pastor didn’t lie. The pastor gives this message at each worship service. It is how he handles each memorial. The people who spoke at the memorial said what they wanted to believe. Each has received their booster-shot to protect from the Gospel of Jesus Christ: inoculated against the cure.
Everyone hears the same message each time they go to church. Their friends reinforce this message and all this while damnation rejoices and Heaven weeps!
Death makes another deal, one more sale; paid in full. Each attendant was given an elegant pitch for the once in a life time deal; a time-share on the warm sandy beaches of Perdition with all its amenities. Deaths doors never close, the light is always on, expectant of another eager customer.
I hate memorials!