False tribute - To give or not to give?

BY: Doreen Hammond
File Photo
File Photo

I remember a story my father- in-law told me about how at his good friend’s funeral he was invited to share a few of his experiences with the deceased.

He walked sadly to the lectern, wiped a tear, cleared his throat and began:“The gentleman lying here today is a good friend and we have passed through thick and thin. And all I can ask of you today is to pray for our sinful souls so that the good Lord will forgive us for our sins.

Together as friends, we did many things which were not pleasing to the Lord. We fornicated, drank a lot of alcohol, gossiped and consulted deities in our bid to become rich”.

As he proceeded, the whole church was silent and then the silence quickly turned into murmurs and before long, four strong family members of the deceased walked towards him furiously and bundled him away amid boos, jeers and insults from some of the mourners; cheers from other mourners while the rest remained seated in a daze!

To date my father-in-law says some of the family members of his deceased friend have not forgiven him. This is in spite of the fact that he insists that all he said was the truth and that it was out of genuine concern to seek intercessory prayers for his friend and himself that he gave that dyslogy.

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I have never been to a funeral where there has been a dyslogy.

The tributes I have listened to have been flowery in an attempt to paint mortals as angels!

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Often times the dead had been described as loving fathers even when they had not been responsible for the upkeep of their children, others had been described as loving mothers who had taken into their homes children who were not their own even when some of them had been noted for hiding food from their children, leaving them very hungry most of the time.

Some of the dead had been described as kind to a fault, sharing whatever they owned with other members of society when in real life they had not been known to do so.

Others who had made a name for themselves in real life for embezzling public funds had become saints in tributes.

Trouble rousers had been described as peace-loving and peace makers, making you wonder if you are at the correct funeral. And the excuse, often, has been that we should not speak evil of the dead!

And that is what our culture supports. But in truth, do such tributes serve any meaningful purpose considering the fact that quite a sizeable number of the mourners would have known who the deceased really was and what he stood for? Is it not better to say it as it is and beg for forgiveness from the ever

merciful God than to pretend all is well? By such attitudes, we encourage people to live in their sinful ways knowing that at death, only good things would be said about them? Do we also forget that the God we serve is an all-knowing God and would know who the dead really are irrespective of such flowery tributes?

I support my father-in-law fully and would have wished that society adopted this bare-itall- out dyslogy if that was what the person deserved so that as we live, we conduct ourselves in a manner that is deserving of a good tribute. So that a thief would be described as such and a drunkard would also be described as one who loved the contents of the bottle and a treacherous hypocrite in life would also get exactly what he lived for.

Let us learn to call a spade a spade and nothing else. Also, let us live good lives so that when we die, people will not be forced to lie.

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