If we examined our lives closely this series would never end. I’m sure I, myself, with as many times as I’ve put my foot in my mouth, could fill up a thousand or so story lines along this vein. This Part II , however, deals with something a little more personal, our religious well-intentions. A case in point:
When my mom died my husband, sister, and I meet with our pastor at the time to go over the funeral service. As we gave him a little insight on my mom, he asked a question, that frankly, ruffled my feathers and made the hair on my neck stand up. His words, although I’m sure he thought were well-intended, were actually stupid. Here’s why.
I’m summarizing, he asked if my mom was at peace when dying or distraught. Because, he doesn’t want to paint a picture of her that isn’t true. Er my gosh! Let me expound a little bit on this for those who may not be familiar with this concept. The notion behind this question is a Christian has a sense of peace at death, knowing the place of their eternal existence, whereas a sinner is tormented at death as the demons come to escort the sinner to hell…tormented.
Seriously, pastor. She’s dead. Gone. So let’s just rip off that band-aid holding back my tears and say; “Sure hope your mom is not burning away in the fiery depths of hell.” Geez! Grief is hard enough. But, hey, thanks for the compassion, sir!
A second case in point: One of my older sisters is fighting stage IV cancer. She recently had a terrible health scare. I was told by the doctors she had two days to live (she defied them and is still fighting). I posted a plea for prayers (Yes, I still believe in the power of prayer. Call me old-fashioned, ignorant, backward, don’t care!) for my sister on my Facebook page. Simple enough. I thought the situation was dire enough to make the public plea. I wasn’t asking for a new car or purse. But, yet, for healing for the cancer and peace and strength for her children.
One of my Facebook friends sent me a private message which read; “Is your sister saved. If not she needs to be saved so she will go to heaven.” Her words were, I assume, well-intended, but er my gosh! Like I’m not dealing with enough. Like cancer ravaging a loved one’s body isn’t enough. You might as well have said; “Hey, Carol, sorry your sister is on death’s door, but if she ain’t a Christian she’s going to spend eternity tormented by fire and demons. Enjoy the visual. It’s your burden. Just completing my religious duties. You’re welcome.” Here is just one final blow to your already crushed spirit. Golly gee, thanks friend! Timing is everything. Trust me, a simple; “Praying,” would have sufficed.
Another case in point: While speaking of a call to prayer, why must one add; he/she “is a Christian?” I don’t understand this add-on. Will it make me pray harder? If so, then I have it backwards, right? I know this is hard to understand for some, shhhh! no one likes to admit this, but…. I have it on very good authority (Seriously, from Jesus himself) that God actually blesses sinners too. Crazy, I know.
The older I get the more I understand the truth behind the words “silence is golden.”
Could you just NOT… please!