Summary: I talk about what we need to know and understand when we lose someone we love.
Intro: Sometimes we face great loses in our lives. Today I want to talk about losing someone we care about. Let’s face it—people die. They die unexpectantly, they die too young. They die needlessly, because of the acts of another. They die naturally. People we always thought would be around…then one day we get the news. How many have you have lost a loved one, someone close to you? Death is not an easy subject to talk about for many. Sometimes the only time we discuss or talk about death is when a loved one dies and we go to their funeral.
Why don’t we talk more about death (if it is a part of life and everyone will experience it)? One reason is because we tend to avoid talking about something we are not comfortable with. Even though it is in the back of our minds we don’t like to talk about it. We don’t like to think it will happen to us. Contemporary Americans seem to believe that something that is never mentioned will eventually disappear.
ILLUSTRATION: A study of sympathy cards shows that only 3% of them mention the forbidden word. So we use other words besides the “d” word. Many also spend thousands of dollars trying to turn back the clock on aging. We buy pills, get plastic surgery, etc. just to try to slow down the aging process. And you know what, our lifespan is increasing. Yet the clock still ticks on.
ILLUSTRATION: Twenty seven people are banking on the idea that modern science will someday find or engineer a fountain of youth. Those 27 people, all deceased, are “patients” of the Alcor Life Extension Institute in Scottsdale, Arizona, where their bodies—or merely their heads!—have been frozen in liquid nitrogen at minus 320 degrees F awaiting the day when medical science discovers a way to make death and aging a thing of the past. Ten of the patients paide $120,000 to have their entire body frozen. Seventeen of the patients paid $50,000 to have only their head frozen, hoping that molecular technology will one day be able to grow a whole new body from their head or its cells. It is called cryonics. As you can imagine, cryonics has its share of critics and skeptics. And of course, Stephen Bridge, president of Alcor, cautions, “We have to tell people that we don’t even really know if it will work yet.” Nevertheless Thomas Donaldson, a 50 year member of Alcor who hasn’t taken advantage of its services, brushed aside the naysayers and explained to a reporter why he’s willing to give cryonics a try: “For some strange reason, I like being alive…I don’t want to die. Okay guys?” (Contemporary Illustraions for Preachers, Teachers, and Writers, Brian Larson. Pg. 43)
Hebrews 9:27 (the Message) says, “Everyone has to die once, then face the consequences.”
Cryonics won’t keep you around. Cryonics won’t keep your loved ones around forever. People that you and I love will pass away.
Another reason why we don’t talk more about death and shy away from it is because, “most of us are taught from our earliest years how to acquire things, not how to lose them. Even when a youngster loses a pet to an accident, it is often replaced on the next Saturday. Most children are not taught how to think about long-term loss, and there are some who are also taught to bury any sorrow that surrounds loss.” (Dr. Les Parrott III in Helping the Stuggling Adolescent, page 176)
So although you and I can’t be fully prepared when someone close to us passes away I want to share some things with you that we can take to heart and help us to continue to live our lives the way God meant for them to be lived. So, what do we need to know and know what to do?
1. A correct view of death. We need to look at the Scriptures and see why death
occurs and what happens after death. So many people are in the dark about what happens at death.
ILLUSTRATION: Some nine year old children were asked what they thought of death and dying. Jim said, “When you die, they bury you in the ground and your souls goes to heaven, but your body can’t go to heaven because it’s too crowded up there already.” Judy said, “Only the good people go to heave. The other people go where it’s hot all the time like in Florida.” John said, “Maybe I’ll die someday, but I hope I don’t die on my birthday because it’s no fun to celebrate your birthday if you’re dead.” Marsha commented, “When you die, you don’t have to do homework in heaven, unless your teacher is there too.” (1001 Humorous Illustrations for Public Speaking. Michael Hodgin, p. 100)