I shared some wonderful attributes about my friend that his family didn’t know. He prayed 2-3 hours almost every day. He prayed to enjoy God most of all. But he also prayed for ministries, his family, for my family and many others. He thought that was what every Christian did until I told him God had actually given him a ministry of intercession. He was pleasantly surprised.
He also lived a life of generosity though he lived on disability checks and had little. He gave to help people and some ministries. One day, he and I had lunch, as we did from time to time. When he arrived at my office, he told me he had a gift for me and couldn’t wait for me to open it. So, I fished a box out of his gift bag which contained a beautiful calf skin Bible with my name engraved in gold. I could hardly believe it because I knew how meagerly he lived. From his joyful expression, I could tell it gave him great joy, so I didn’t dare tell him he shouldn’t have bought it because he didn’t have the money.
At the end of my eulogy, I did something I’ve never done before at a funeral. I shared with them earlier how I had helped my friend forgive his own father who had cruelly rejected him as a child. I acknowledged that at times, my friend could be hard to live with but I didn’t leave it there. (He had flesh like all of us.) I gently challenged each of them to forgive my friend. They heard how they could tell God the things their nephew did which offended them and how it made them feel. They could also acknowledge to God that their nephew didn’t deserve their forgiveness, just as they didn’t deserve God’s forgiveness. They could then go on and tell God they forgave their nephew, even though they might not feel like it.
I realized they might think it strange to forgive someone who was already dead and in heaven. Their act of forgiveness would accomplish two things. First, it would be their final act of love for their nephew. Second, it would remove a burden from each of them they probably didn’t even realize was there.
I wonder if you have a person who has died whom you need to forgive for how they hurt and offended you. You might need to forgive them for dying and leaving you. If so, you may feel guilty for feeling this way, or think that it doesn’t matter because they are already dead. It’s not wrong or too late to forgive the dead. Forgiving them will free you from a burden you’ve needed to get rid of for a while. Are you willing to be intentional in doing this? If you don’t plan it, you may never forgive and experience this awesome peace available to you in Christ.
Believe it! It’s the Gospel.
Live Free In Christ,
Mark Maulding, President and Founder
www.GraceLifeInternational.com All Content Copyright © 2015 Mark Maulding but feel free to pass it on!