Fragrant, white flowers cascade over a casket of deep oak. Thousands of black-clad onlookers gaze pensively at the holy man. He talks about your memories of your life and the purpose of theirs. The mood is somber and makes for reflection. Just as the funeral crowd didn’t, we don’t think about death often but one day we will all be there, in that casket with no life left in our lungs.
Depressing much? And on a Monday? Katie, what the heck is wrong with you?
What if I told you that death was a good thing, an exceptional thing? The only way to truly living?
Let’s look at it this way, in a cat fight, sometimes it’s tough to be the “better woman.” If you know what I mean? Someone insults you, lies about you behind your back, says hurtful things to your face and you’re left standing there with shreds of skin hanging from your limbs and blood pooling at your feet.
Maybe that’s a little melodramatic… but maybe it isn’t.
I don’t know about you but whenever that kind of thing happens to me it feels like massive, fleshy chunks of pride are being extracted. I think most of us would agree that that is what happens after someone attacks someone who is alive. Ligaments tear, bones break, skin separates and bleeds. Pain, pain, pain.
What would happen if the person who was attacked wasn’t alive? Do the dead feel pain and bleed? Do the deceased horde knives and stab themselves with them whenever mention of the incident raises its ugly head? Nope. Because they are dead. No duh, hey?
I was thinking through some hurts I have experienced and was reminded of Romans 6:11, “So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.” We need to allow ourselves to be dead to self-provision, dead to what the world says of us, dead to the opinions of others that validate our worth.
When we’re dead and someone attacks us we won’t cry out, we won’t bleed. We are already safe in the arms of Jesus, the Author and Perfector of our faith, the One who gave His life so we can all live.
If I may, I would like to offer some practical advice: if someone offends you, don’t react. Don’t speak negatively about them. Don’t think about all the things you could do to get back at them.
Remember, when you died to yourself you were made alive in Christ.
All that to say you aren’t physically dead, no matter how great what I just said was. You still feel things. It’s important to acknowledge emotion but not stay fixed on it. After someone has taken a grenade to your heart take some time alone to process.
One of my amazing pastor friends taught me this after I was experiencing a round of grief: sit in a quiet space where no one can interrupt you (or preferably even hear you). Tell God how frustrated you are with the situation, pound things out, scream, punch a pillow, throw stuff. After the dust has settled, allow Christ to comfort you. Ask Him to help you love this seemingly despicable person. Ask Him to give you a new heart and new mind. Ask Him to help you see them the way He sees them.
Ask Him to help you plan your funeral.
He will come through. He most certainly did for me and the outcome was so much better than I could have imagined, I gained freedom from the thoughts of others and true life!
Also, for all you A types out there… don’t expect yourself to do everything perfectly, remember to rest in the Perfect One. The One who cares for you so desperately “cast all your cares on Him for He cares for you (1 Peter 5:7).”
With much love and adoration,