Years ago I performed a funeral service for a man whom nobody liked, even his own family. It’s common to give people an opportunity to share their thoughts and memories of the deceased, yet I feared several minutes of awkward silence. I was surprised that there were so many people who had something kind to say about a very disliked man.
It’s interesting how we tend to lay aside our anger, bitterness, and disagreements and find a person’s good qualities once he dies. I don’t think it’s just because we don’t want to speak ill of the dead. I think there’s something much deeper than that. I suspect that we all recognize death as the one event in life that levels the playing field. It makes us all alike.
It’s sad that we only find the courage to think this way when someone dies.
When you look at another person you know, do you immediately recall her flaws and failures, or do you see someone just like you in so many ways? Oh, the specifics may be different, but really we’re all the same.
Every one of us has said and thought and done things we should never have said, thought, and done. Every one of us is human. Every one of us has sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).
One of the great things about the God of the Bible is that when we come to Him in faith and accept His gift of salvation, He does more than forgive our sins, He forgets them completely (Psalm 103:3, 12; Jeremiah 31:34; Micah 7:19). God moves beyond our past and sees us for what He chose us to be: His beloved children by grace alone. We need to learn to do the same.