Saturday, December 3, 2011

Dec 3 - Luke 23:33,42,43

Recently a parent wrote, asking about how to speak to their children about grandma's illness and impending death. Over the next several days, I'm letting you "listen in" to my pastoral advice. So far we have covered the following pieces of advice: 1. Be Honest and Upfront,  2. Focus Forward,  3. Grieve Honestly, 4. Grieve with Bold Determination, 5. Understand Life
When they came to the place that is called The Skull,
they crucified Jesus there with the criminals
[one of these criminals] said, "Jesus, remember me
when you come into your kingdom."
He replied, "Truly I tell you,
today you will be with me in Paradise."
Luke 23:33,42,43
Quit Denying
I closed my last email with the signature: "a guy who likes heaven and victory more than secrets and defeat."
How many families do you know whose first name is "Secrets," whose middle name is "Denial," and whose last name is, therefore, "Defeat."
  • I've known parents who haven't told their children about a diagnosis. "We don't want to burden them."
  • I've known husbands who haven't let the doctors tell their spouse about a terminal illness. "I don't want them to worry."
  • Furthermore, I constantly encounter people who don't say anything to their closest friends about any real burden their bearing. "It's private," they say.
As a result I've witnessed bucket-loads of unnecessary pain ... and anger ... and isolation.
The reality is that denial always hides in darkness and always cooperates with Satan. The truth about death will always and inevitably come. "Hiding it from the kids" won't make it go away; instead, it merely guarantees that it will hit us like a steamroller -- the full weight, all at once.
I agree, hard truths are always very painful ... especially initially. But truth -- told gracefully in advance -- eventually allows for a series of final gifts.
  • We can have final conversations (see the final conversation in our verse for today)
  • We can say what needs to be said -- the good things that lead to comfort and the hard things that lead to forgiveness
  • In the sense of "live like we're dying" and making every moment count, stopping denial and living the truth allows us to face final days with more clarity and purpose.
Don't opt for darkness and denial. Opt for victory and hope.
In Christ's Love,
a guy whose first name is "Truth"
and whose last name is "Victory"
(sadly this makes my initials "T.V."
and I hoped this would get me away
from shallow living!)

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