Monday, September 29, 2014

Encourage the dying

If a friend is dying, should you help them plan their final wishes or try to avoid the topic? One of Billy Graham's readers has this question on his mind.
DEAR BILLY GRAHAM: A friend is dying of cancer and is not expected to live much longer. Yesterday, she asked me to help plan her funeral service. I didn’t have the nerve to tell her no, but doesn’t she need encouragement right now, instead of thinking about her death? — L.R.
Is anyone else bewildered by the lack of urgency being shown here. LR says that his friend isn't expected to last much longer. So he takes the time to write a letter to Billy Graham. Waits for his letter to make it through the pile of other letters that are sent in. Than waits for the newspaper to print Billy's reply. If she didn't have long to live, it's very possible she died before LR ever got the reply to his letter.
Not cool Jesus, not cool...
DEAR L.R.: The most encouraging thing you could do for your friend right now would be to follow her wishes and help her plan her funeral service.

After all, to you this may seem morbid or depressing, but she is facing her situation realistically, and it may even give her joy to know that others won’t have to worry about these details.

Otherwise, the responsibility will fall on her family, who may not have any idea about her wishes. Abraham made careful arrangements for the final needs of his family, and it’s wise for us to do the same (see Genesis 23:1-20).

What can you do to help your friend? First, listen carefully to her, and take notes on what she says. Ask questions also, such as if she has any favorite hymns she’d like sung or passages from the Bible she’d like included. Encourage her, too, to talk with her pastor. If she doesn’t have one, the chaplain in her hospital will know how to help her.
Surprisingly this isn't bad advice. But here's the thing... Billy giving good advice means abandoning what the Bible has to say on the issue. Lets take a look at Luke 9:59-60...
And he said unto another, Follow me. But he said, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father. Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God.
So the Biblical advice for LR is actually contrary to what Billy suggested. Jesus would rather LR shrug of the friend's death, let someone else worry about her and just move callously on without even attending the funeral. Not exactly loving or caring if you ask me.

-Brain Hulk

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