In 2006 I met a man, about ten years younger than I, while doing relief work after Hurricane Katrina. For about two months we worked together. I spent three days at his place and he spent three days at mine. We didn’t really like each other but the common bond of our passion to help yoked us together.
In August of 2006 we tried to literally work together in Mississippi with horrific results. The problem with this man was that his motive for serving was as much to bring glory to himself as it was to help others. Due to his narcissistic nature, he never believed he was doing anything wrong. After a series of confrontations, we parted company and other than a few phone calls never spoke to each other again.
I found out the other day that this man was found dead in his home by the local sheriff. Since then, I have been struggling with whether my 100% lack of emotion is right or wrong. This man, like countless others in my life, turned his back on me and walked away into the twilight of oblivion years ago. When someone does that, I do not hate them but I no longer feel the bond of brother love.
I have often wondered how Jesus felt hearing about the death of Judas. I am sure He was sad, for it was a tragedy that the man did what he did, but because he was a traitor, I don’t know what the degree of grief would have been.
I know that David mourned for Saul when he learned of his death even though Saul had hunted him for years with the intent of killing him. But, the grief in David’s heart was due to his respect for Saul as the Lord’s anointed and the father of his friend Jonathan and NOT due to his deep affection for Saul as a man.
Upon hearing of the death of Lazarus, Jesus wept. Obviously Lazarus was his friend and the news of his demise caused instant mourning. Of course Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead and they went on to spend time together before Jesus was crucified.
The children of Israel mourned for Moses after his death for 40 days. Certainly the original children of Israel whom Moses led out of Egypt would not have mourned for they despised Moses. But the generation of people alive when he died truly respected Moses and grieved when he died.
I do indeed feel badly that this man who I briefly knew many years ago succumbed to things which had afflicted him for years and no doubt caused his premature death. I feel badly for his children and those who once served with him. I pray that the Lord has mercy on that man’s soul and looks at all his good works and grants him eternal life. I can do these things, but I cannot personally grieve for the man. I pray this is acceptable to the Lord.
Even amongst family and friends there are varying degrees as to how we respond to the death of a particular individual as well as the degree of grief we feel. Personally, I think the idea that we as Christians are to feel the exact same way towards every single individual had to hold everyone at the exact same level of esteem is a myth. I would also challenge anyone who believes that they do!
It is regretful that this man seemed to have made some very poor choices during his lifetime. It is a chilling reminder to us all to live our lives in a manner that pleases and glorifies God and is a blessing to others.
I have read this blog and re-read it. I wish I had some great words of wisdom to share with you, but I simply do not.
I am a mere human and find that those that had touched my heart and spirit are those I've grieved deeply for.
Though I have compassion for those casual acquaintances I've never felt deep grief for them.
If that is wrong, I can only pray God will forgive my humanness and help me change the wrong.
For me these are the ones who hurt the most, when I learn of their passing. Not so much where they are, which is important, but that we both had failed somehow. That may not even be the case, as we do try and reconcile with brothers and sisters, hopefully, but it still hurts. Especially when it just did not happen.
But if we made every effort, to no avail, we should just leave it with God. Good subject. God Bless you brother.
your blog reminded me about one i wrote a few years ago about one of my x brother in laws. found out year later he died a tragic death. heard one of my nieces speak of him in a "not so kind way. he was her father's youngest brother. I pray his soul is now at peace. be blessed