Sunday we had a small memorial gathering at my home to honor the life of my brother, Scott, and sister-in-law, Dawn.
We hugged, laughed, cried, shared stories, and ate food together. Although it was a beautiful day, I couldn’t help but wonder if my brother truly realized how much he was loved and admired.
Why don’t we share—I mean really share—the things we feel about those closest to us on a regular basis?
Too often we wait until a special occasion or God forbid until they are dead. Listen, there’s no easy way to say this. It’s too late when they are dead.
How about a Living Eulogy?
Here’s the Merriam-Webster definition.
eulogy: a commendatory oration or writing especially in honor of one deceased.
The word eulogy is from the Greek roots eu “good” and logos “speech.” Logos is a word also used in theology to describe the Word of God, or principle of divine reason and creative order, identified in the Gospel of John with the second person of the Trinity incarnate in Jesus Christ.
And guess what? A eulogy can also be an encomium (an expression of glowing praise) given for one who is either living or dead.
In actuality, the Lord impressed this “living eulogy” idea upon me a few years ago when I decided to give my family members a different kind of gift at Christmas. As we sat around the tree, I read them a letter I’d written about how much I love each of them and why. I typed up a copy and handed it out afterward.
Words are powerful. Let’s use them wisely.
“Gentle words bring life and health; a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit.” Proverbs 15:4
“Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.” James 3:5-6
“Gentle words bring life and health; a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit.” Proverbs 16:54
Words should be followed by actions.
Not only should we let our loved ones know that we care, we need to show them. I’m not talking about giving monetary gifts, here. Those are nice, of course.
But what people really desire is our time.
Unfortunately, our society has become so fast-paced, a text takes the place of a call, a handwritten card, or an actual visit. We are running ourselves ragged. And our souls and relationships are suffering.
Our souls require intimacy.
Perhaps you’ve seen this definition: Intimacy= In-To-Me-See.
God created us to require intimacy with Him and each other. We need to be seen, heard, understood, appreciated, needed and loved. These things are only achieved within an intimate relationship.
Intimacy is not reserved for the marriage relationship. We require a depth of relationships with friends and children, too.
Intimacy is not a rushed process. It is cultivated over time.
This is where the living eulogy comes into play. What if we say and do things for those we love as if today is our last day to do so? What if we live out the concept of the eulogy? What if we become living, breathing eulogies?
5 Ways to BE a Living Eulogy to Others
There is an art to being a good listener (check out my post “The Lost Art of Listening”). The simple act of attentively listening speaks volumes! We all need to feel like what we have to say matters.
Show a Genuine Interest in Their Life
Learn about their passions, hobbies, fears, and work. Talk about how you can help or encourage them in their goals.
Celebrate Their Success
Acknowledge their hard work. Sincerely admiring their efforts will keep their morale high and encourage further growth.
Share in Their Burdens
God never intended us to live a solitary life. He called us to a relationship with Himself and others. We need each other—especially when life gets tough.
“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. “
Someone who truly cares will be honest with you. We need trusted people who will hold us accountable for living our best. This isn’t always easy. But Christ-like love (is there any other?) is honest even when it’s difficult. We must prayerfully ask for God’s wisdom, and speak the truth in love.
“Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.” Proverbs 27:6
Friends, we don’t know what tomorrow will bring. We don’t know how long we have with those we love. The most Christ-like thing we can do is truly demonstrate our love while they are with us.
A small group of thoughtful people could change the world.
Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.
I’d love to hear your thoughts and prayer requests in the comments below.
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