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REST IN PEACE

January 23, 2016

Particularly on social media networks I often see announcements of people that have departed this life and included in the announcement or condolences are the letters R.I.P. and I sometimes wonder are the departed resting in peace or are they in a place of torment.

It has been said that funerals are not for the departed because they cannot hear what is being said, but it is for the living to provide comfort and closure. Often at funeral services we hear remarks being made placing individuals that did not serve God while they were living in heaven with Him and other departed love ones. Many do not realize or want to accept the idea that their assumption is not true. Hebrews 9:27 states, “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.” This verse means that there is no second chance after you die, your life on earth will determine where you will spend eternity and if you are not a child of God you are not resting in peace.

The parable that Jesus shared with the people in Luke 16:19-31 talked about two men: Lazarus a beggar and a certain rich man. When the rich man who was selfish and unwilling to share his wealth died he was able to see Lazarus who had also died in the comforting arms of Abraham while he was in torment in hell. The rich man wanted relief from the flame but was told by Abraham there would be no relief for him. He also wanted someone to go to his relatives that were still living and minister to them so that they would not end up in hell like him.

During the funeral services for those departed individuals who were unbelievers we have the opportunity to follow the request of the rich man. Therefore, I believe that a different approach needs to be taken at funerals. The eulogist and those giving remarks need not lie to the family and tell the family their love one is resting in peace. God knows and that is all that matters for their love one might be like the thief on the cross next to Jesus who acknowledged Him as “The King of the Jews” and Jesus told him that on that day he would be with Him in paradise. If do not know that the departed made a last minute confession of faith, say nothing, instead address all those that are present and inform them that every day they are living counts and their relationship with God on earth determines their future after death. Let them know there is no mercy extended to the unbeliever after death and their eternal destiny is fixed. Also there is no reincarnation. While they are living choose life, choose God and they will one day rest in peace.

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