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Facing Death

February 2, 2008
by

Chris’ post about death got me thinking.

Wait, I don’t want to think about death.  I just want to ignore it.

And therein lies the problem with the American approach to death.  Because while it is unnatural, barring Christ’s return, it is also inevitable.  We rarely think about the fact that we are going to die.  There is a proper abhorrence of death mixed in with this aversion to it, but our discomfort with death also lies in the fact that we would rather not think about it.  This leaves us very ill-equipped to actually think about what death means.

Psalm 90 asks God to teach us to number our days.  I’m 25 now, and have come to the realization that my life is probably around 1/3 over.  Ignoring this fact doesn’t make it untrue, it just makes us less able to deal with reality.  We need to realize that death is something we all must go through, and plan accordingly.

Our ignoring of death also leaves us unable to deal with it when friends and family go through losing a loved one.  We are uncomfortable with death ourselves, so our reaction is to try to say something nice at the funeral, and then continue ignoring the issue.  In addition, those grieving also want to put the issue behind them as soon as possible, so they tend not to ask their friends for help, but try to tough it out.  This produces large groups of people who have never really dealt with death, even if someone they cared about went through it.

I must shout in agreement with Chris’ post about death.  One of the worst things you can say to someone going through a death in the family is that “death is a part of life.”  While technically true, it wasn’t meant to be! We should not simply accept death, we should abhor it – but that doesn’t mean we should ignore it either.  We should stare death in the face, think about what it means for our lives, give long term comfort to those who have recently experienced death, and talk Biblically about it.  For 1 Corinthians 15:54-55 says:

“Death is swallowed up in victory.”
55 “O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?”

Death’s power over us has been broken.  We will live eternally with Christ when he creates the new heavens and the new earth.  However, the proper reaction to this is not ignorance, but courageously standing up to death.  Its power is broken: we have nothing to fear from death if we have given our lives to Christ.

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