The Problem with Funerals

The Problem with Funerals

Question:

Can you offer some thoughts and directions regarding funerals and what we should do in the event of death?

Answer:

Death and funerals can be very difficult circumstances. Actually, this subject deserves a full-length article. However, we offer these comments:

(1) Death is a serious matter and all of us must face this at some time. Paul calls it “the last enemy” (1 Corinthians 15:26).We must remember that “it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment” (Hebrews 9:27). This is no laughing matter!

(2) Economy is a determining factor. We should not spend much money on a funeral when the body will soon be placed into the ground—only to decay.

(3) The Christian should handle this situation as he would others—with wisdom and with a desire to glorify God (1 Cor. 6:20; 10:31).

(4) This opportunity should be used to reach and touch any unbelievers present. This may be the closest they get to a spiritual outreach and Scripture-reading, thus we should take advantage of the occasion for the cause of Christ.

(5) Jesus Christ and His resurrection from the dead should be emphasized, for all people will experience a resurrection—whether right with God or apart from God (John 5:28-29; Daniel 12:2; Acts 24:15).

(6) This would be an ideal time to sing upbuilding songs and hymns (Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16). Of course, these songs would be a cappella, without instrumentation.

(7) If a meeting place is available, this would be the time to use it. We don’t think that there would be an objection to this use of such a building. This would lower the costs and it would make the planning and execution of the funeral much easier and place the whole event in a spiritual and Christian atmosphere.

(8) All references to worldliness should be eliminated (Romans 12:1-2; 1 John 2:15-17).

(9) If the funeral is for an unbeliever, for a professing Christian, or for a person who did come to Christ in the past but was unfaithful, a funeral could be a very, very difficult event. Perhaps the family and friends are expecting some consolation (especially if they are worldly themselves or non-believers), but (if we are honest) no consolation can be offered. Perhaps it is better to give the funeral to someone else who has no convictions on being truthful about the person who died.

 

–Richard Hollerman

 

 

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