Light and Dark
“I went to a woman’s funeral.” That’s the beginning of a social media post shared by one of my non-Christian friends. It caught my attention. I was curious about what a funeral is like for a non-believer. What followed was one of the saddest retellings of a funeral I have ever heard, but probably not for the reason you’re thinking. It wasn’t a post about the hopelessness and futility of life that you might expect from someone who doesn’t have a foundational faith to lift them up in times of sorrow and loss (like our comfort described in I Thes. 4:13-18).
During the funeral, many people stood up to talk. The preacher called the deceased the “kindest most helpful person he’d ever met.” Her children said she was “the best, most loving mom.” Everyone described how “she never complained. She put everyone first. She didn’t take care of her(self), she devoted herself to church, husband, and kids.”
Sounds good, right? Not to this attendee. No. She was emotionally and traumatically upset by what she had heard, even sobbing at how horrifying the funeral was! She explained by saying, “I hadn’t learned a thing about her personality except that she made it small.” The attendee went so far as to whisper into the casket something along the lines of, “that’s why you had a heart attack.”
Truly, light and darkness have embraced the opposites. To this attendee, what matters is being loud and complaining (a rough, but fair paraphrase of the rant that followed). According to her, we should get mad if someone says that we don’t complain. Selflessness must come to an end! “You have to find a life that does not hurt.” “This is your life” and you should refuse to live it for someone else.
I haven’t met the deceased. I don’t know her name. All that I know about her has come from an upset attendee, but I think I know more about this woman than the attendee. From what was described, she was spiritual, loving, family-oriented and focused on service. By her life, it is clear that those things mattered the most to her. And that, to a non-believer, was a tragic waste of life. The deceased was “small”. Humble. She had died to help those around her. To one unbeliever, such a thing was an insult.
Read the second sentence of the article again. I don’t know the original poster. The only way I heard about this is because one of my friends agreed so much that she shared it for all to see. Others took the time to agree with the rant. The views expressed were not isolated to one upset woman. It is a generational motto. This sort of disdain for selflessness makes sense to them.
Light and dark, my friends. Light and dark. To the darkness, the ways of light are more than just foolishness, they are repulsive.
Jesus lived to serve (Mt. 20:28). He died a painful, horrible death, for the sake of others (II Cor. 5:14). Why did Jesus do this? Did He do it so that you and I could complain to the world and make certain that we are heard and seen? No. “He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf” (II Cor. 5:15). This message is one of foolishness to the world (I Cor. 1:21-25). To us, it is a message of hope and salvation. It is our peace. It is our purpose.
What greater glory can we have than, upon our death, to have everyone report how much we loved God and everyone around us?
Have you come to love the light or does the darkness still make sense to you?