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April 15, 2019

How to Talk About Hard Topics: Life After Death

The hit television series This is Us can be summed up in one scene when one of the main characters, Kevin, finds himself trying to explain to his nieces what happens when we die. He stammers and stutters as the two little girls start to cry at the thought of their family dying. After taking some time, Kevin grabbed a work of art he had created of splattered paint — he called it his “therapy,” saying, "Sometimes I paint." He goes on to say, "This painting is about life and life is about color." The painting is meant to look like it goes on for an infinite amount of time, and that too, is what life feels like sometimes. It goes on and on. What if we are all in the painting? Color is added until we are just one big, colorful painting. People will die, but they never really leave. They are still a part of the painting. That's the point. There's no dying. There's no you or me or them. It's just us.

This description of what happens when we die sounds beautiful, right? I believe it is the most beautiful “worldly” way I have heard death described. I can imagine millions of people finding comfort in that scene. Death is such a hard topic to tackle, especially when talking to those who do not know where they are going afterwards. I attended a friend's funeral where I didn't know if I would see her again. I often describe losing a friend or family member as, “something our souls know shouldn't happen.” We were not created to experience or grapple with death.

Easter is coming up and here are two things I’d like us to hold on to:

Firstly, death does have a sting. No matter how we "paint" death out to be, or how we try to color the pain of losing someone we love, there is a sting. When my friend died, it was so traumatic and hard to process. I don't remember most of that entire year. Everyone I have spoken to whose been affected by death has agreed that it hurts. To quote Kanye West, "Nothing in life is promised except death." This means that at some point, everyone has to experience the sting of death. It cannot be avoided. This fact isn't new to anyone.

Death may be physical or spiritual. When Adam and Eve fell, death was humanity’s curse. "The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." – 1 Corinthians 15:45

According to the Bible, death has a sting and that sting is sin; everyone will experience this sting in his or her lifetime.

Secondly, we have victory over spiritual death. Our eternal lives were redeemed through the saving work of Jesus Christ on the cross. This is the difference between what God says and what This is Us tried to answer. Yes, we are in a narrative, but it is God's narrative. He put us here at this very time, gave us breath in our lungs, planted dreams in our hearts, and predestined our steps. Our lives do paint a beautiful and colorful picture— one that affects the lives of those around us. We are made alive through Christ. Isn't that amazing? God could have said, “If you believe in me, you can walk with me and know me throughout your life on earth, but then you will die.” The remarkable reality is that he wants to be with us forever!

“For the wages of sin is death, but the FREE gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord". -Romans 6:23

Let us not shrink back when talking about death. Life is a beautiful thing and eternal life is even more remarkable. Death can be a way to bring up the FREE gift of God to a friend who is experiencing the sting of death.

 

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Hannah Lynn

Hannah Lynn hosts Moody Radio’s That’s Real and is an engineer for Karl and Crew mornings. She grew up as a homeschooler on a tree farm, plays the harp (ask her about harp camp), drives a Prius (don’t judge), and started a fashion blog while a student at Moody Bible Institute (yes, that’s possible). Hannah loves to tell people about Jesus—as a seven-year-old she witnessed to her ballet teacher, then she started a Young Life club while in high school. Now she mentors teens with her husband, John, who serves as a youth pastor.

That's Real with Hannah Lynn

That’s Real with Hannah Lynn gives a one-minute dose of encouragement and advice to young adults who want to love and live God’s Word. Her fast-paced mix of storytelling and Bible truth helps create understanding between young believers and anyone who wants to follow Jesus one day at a time.