Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first .After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage one another with these words. I Thessalonians 4:13-18 NIV
If we truly want to comfort others when they lose a loved one–we should use God’s Word–instead of our traditional responses that are not based upon truth.
Yesterday, someone told me (in a response to something I said about my deceased mother) our moms are watching over us. Now, I know this is a common response used by people to comfort others or themselves and if I did not know The Word, I’d buy into it. However, since I do know The Word and I know that, “the dead know nothing” I cannot promote an untruth, based upon God’s Word–not my opinion.
When I reminded the person about God’s Word, I was told, “everyone has their own opinion and her mom was watching over her.”
Here’s the thing–everyone does have an opinion about so many things, but when it comes to the things of God–shouldn’t we say what God says and not espouse our opinions? I am, and will, to the best of my ability always say what God says, even when it seems that I’m aloof or a bit cold. I am neither. I’m simply trying to do what I’m told–by God in His Word–and I’m breaking the chains of tradition wherever I find them. If people want to be misled and shackled to traditions–that’s their option. I choose not to do so.
So, while I cannot put anyone in heaven who has gone before me–I cannot say with certainty where anyone is. I know–because of The Word–that when we die, our spirits go back to God who gave them, our bodies return to the dust from which it came and our soul awaits judgment (Ecclesiastes 12)–when Christ returns. I don’t know when we’ll rise after He returns or when we’ll be judged, but I do know–when He returns–those who died in Christ–knowing Him–will rise first and we’ll be taken up with them. Whether I’m alive here or not when Christ returns remains to be seen. I am assured of this one thing and so can others be–my mansion in heaven is reserved and one day–I shall inhabit it as promised in The Word.
I’m praying that soon we’ll be able to tell people the truth and stop lying to them when a loved one dies. We cannot put them in heaven or hell–that’s a judgment call that we cannot make for them–only God can–based upon their relationship (or none) with Him. As much as I’d like to believe my mother is watching over us–I know she’s not and I’m okay with that. I hold her memories in my heart and soon in what I write. Whether I’ll know her or not when we all get to heaven is not as important as knowing we’ll be there–at the same time.
Instead of lying to people (and telling them someone has gone on to glory is a lie), let’s comfort and encourage people with God’s Word. “Though they sleep in death right now, when Christ returns, they shall rise first and we who are yet live shall join them.”And while we wait for that glorious day, let’s keep their memories alive in our hearts to enjoy them any time we want.