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Monday, May 31, 2010

Should You Grieve When Christians Die?

Should we grieve at the funeral of a Christian when we know this person has gone to the best place possible? Of course, but not as one who grieves those who die and are not Christians.

We grieve at the loss of a Christian because we have lost someone. The deceased is fine. This person is no longer sick, old, hurting or worrying about paying taxes. The tribulations of this world are gone. There is a rejoicing in heaven. On the other hand, we will not see that person for some time. We will not have conversations or hugs. We will not receive anything from the deceased and any gift we make to the deceased will be meaningless. We mourn our loss.

Waiting is hard for us. As believers, we know that no Christian is ever truly lost to us. We know that we shall spend an eternity together. However, there is a break between the time of physical death and reuniting in heaven. We hate the wait but it will be like the blink of an eye in comparison with eternity.

I have spoken with numerous Christians who are making that transition to death. They have told me of talking to their own deceased relatives. I used to think these people were hallucinating but their stories are so similar and frequent that I believe they are real now. They tell me of their conversations because they know they will join these deceased relatives soon. They tell me that they were given these encounters to help them make the transition from life here to life there.

I have lost count of the number of people I have watched pass away. There was life in the body for a moment and, then, it is gone. It is very peaceful. It seems like the person gives his or her life over to death. It is like being convinced that this is the best direction to go. Once convinced, the trip is made.

Many times the person will wait until a family member comes before releasing his or her spirit. Many times the family members give permission for the person to go. I think that the family members need to do that for themselves as much as they need to do so for their loved ones.

No one can really say whether it is better to have a sudden death without suffering or one which can be seen for a long time. The first avoids the suffering but prevents any last things you would like to tell your loved one. The latter comes with suffering but allows those words and deeds you can do for your loved one.

Yes, we grieve those whom we have lost but not as those who have no hope. Our hope is built upon the word of the Lord Himself. Our hope is assured by His own resurrection. Our hope is guarded in heaven and waiting for us.

1 Thessalonians 4:13 (ESV)
But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope.

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