I attended the funeral of a friend’s father today. I never met him. Cancer.
As the minister began his eulogy, I learned that he was the pastor at my friend’s church. The pastor hadn’t met the deceased either.
The minister preached a funeral message that I had heard several times before. Basically, it was about what we do with the dash between the date of our birth and the date of our death. His premise was, “What do you do with the dash? The in between? What do you do with the middle?”
The question is valid. What do you do with the time between the beginning and the end?
My friend’s father did not live a pious life. He gave little thought to the Lord or the Kingdom of Heaven until his dying days. It turns out that he had a deathbed conversion that some people who live lives of sin have near the end of their lives.
Most deathbed conversion stories are similar. The sinner repents, is saved and at the funeral, the minister is able to preach about Brother or Sister So-in-So who is now basking in the Glory and Presence of the Lord. In the case of my friend’s father, I have no reason to doubt it.
However, something the minister said really got my attention and got me thinking. He said that my friend’s father had wished that he had just a little while longer to live so that he could tell others about his new found joy in the Lord…and that my friend’s father died with regrets.
Not a surprise really, people die with regrets every day. Interestingly, though, the minister implied that if a person lived as a Christian, he or she may be able to die without regrets entirely. I pondered his words for several hours and ultimately dismissed them as balderdash. I think it is impossible for any human (with the possible exception of Christ Himself) to live a life free of regrets unless they have a seared conscience.
Don’t get me wrong, I believe there are plenty of humans who have seared consciences and are therefore incapable of having regrets.
I don’t believe that it’s possible for a Christian to live a regret-free life. For better or worse, regrets are part of what make us who we are. I’m not saying that we should embrace regret, but trying to banish it completely will likely lead us to be miserable.
Peace to you all.