A few years ago I went to the funeral of a woman I had known all my life. I wish I could say I remember her fondly, but the truth is, I don’t. The memories I have of this woman consist of her saying very ugly things to some of my family members. Often when she saw us in public, she would turn her head so she did not have to speak to us. She was highly critical and downright mean with her words where my family was concerned. In spite of the bad history, I have forgiven her for her actions toward my family.
When the funeral service began, both preachers who delivered the eulogy talked about what a wonderful encourager this lady was to those in her church and community. They spoke glowingly of her generosity to those in need and her love for Jesus, her family, and her church. The pastor informed us that he was reading her favorite Bible verses which had been taken from her apparently well-marked Bible. Her memory was honored by the speakers with glowing words of praise for her character, generosity and love for the Lord.
I was in total disbelief.
I had this insane urge to scream right in the middle of the service.
In fact, it was all I could do to keep myself from standing up and saying, “Excuse me, I must be at the wrong funeral. I don’t know the person of whom you speak. Don’t mind me. I’ll leave now.”
I maintained my decorum, smiled kindly at the family, got in my car and shrieked to the teddy bear that rides in my back seat, “I CANNOT STINKING BELIEVE WHAT I JUST HEARD!”
It was the most bizarre thing I have ever experienced. I go to the funeral of one person, but the person who is eulogized appears to be a totally different person. I kept pinching myself, but I know I was at the right funeral. All the family was there, but for the life of me, I did not recognize the person of whom the pastors spoke.
The Lord used this to drive home a lesson in my heart. If you know me at all, you know that the topic of LEGACY is my hallmark message. It is what I write and speak about. (www.leahadams.org/legacy) My desire is to leave a godly legacy for the generations that come behind me, and to help others learn how to do this as well. I want others to look at me and see Jesus.
In the midst of all that was going on in my head during this funeral, the Lord reminded me that it is so important for me to be consistent in who I am; to be the same person on Monday or Friday that I was on Sunday. The Holy Spirit spoke to my heart and said, “Leah, do you want people at your funeral to not recognize the person being described because you presented one face to one group of people and another face to another group of people?”
“NO! I do not want that,” my spirit groaned.
So, how do we accomplish this consistency of person?
I would submit to you that we find the answer in Galatians 5: 16 (NLT),
“So I advise you to live according to your new life in the Holy Spirit. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves.”
There is no way to escape differences of opinion and personal preferences in this life. We are all unique people with unique desires and tastes. In spite of this, if you and I name the name of Christ over our lives, we serve the God who is unchanging. He never has a bad day, never gets mad and walks out on us, never chooses to ignore us when we don’t act the way we should. Yes, He is just and holy, but He is also merciful and loving.
If we have God’s Spirit living within us, in the midst of disagreements, we can be still be loving and kind. When someone does something that does not please us, we can still be patient and offer grace. Oh, WE cannot do it in our flesh, but the Holy Spirit can do it through us. Because Jesus, the One who is love, light, peace, gentleness, grace and mercy, can help us to be the same person on Monday, or Tuesday, or Wednesday or Saturday that we were on Sunday in church. His love can shine through us…..if we will allow it.
Is there a consistency of person in your life?
If you died today and could write your eulogy, would the people who attend your funeral recognize you?
What would you hope would be said about you?
Who are you when everyone is looking?
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