Recently a friend of mine said that he wasn’t going to attend his mother’s funeral because there was so much infighting in the family over the matter, and from his point of view, considerable hypocrisy in the plan of the service. My friend is a born again believer, as was his mum; for him there is personal loss but also peace knowing with absolute confidence where his elderly mum now resides.
This friend has had some flack from family, but also from other believers who have said he must attend. It was not for him, however, a matter of social decorum or even of witness, but of his own reason or conviction to stay away.
Freedom to Choose
It seems to me that just as Jesus was told he ought to go to the passover feast to “show himself”, and he said he wasn’t going to go (John 7:2-9), this friend ought not to do what others say he “must” do but rather, what his conscience, his relationship with the Father, and with his mother, suggests.
Too often we are pulled here and there as to what to “do” but Jesus has taught us that we are to “be”.
Scripture about Motive
“Search me and know me, O God…” (Psalm 139:1, 23)
When we ask the LORD a direction or course of action to take, He will lead and guide us, revealing to us our motivation, so that we are free from “must” and “should” and instead may walk in our identity in Christ Jesus, Yeshua Messiah. The Holy Spirit convicts, and yes sometimes He uses people to do it. But more often He will lead us into all truth through the inner conviction and revelation and freedom He places in our own hearts. He sees us and reveals to us who we are in Him.
My friend was brave!
My friend stood against criticism and other people’s “encouragement” to do what is right in man’s eyes. He surrendered to the LORD saying to Him, ‘I will attend if that is what you want me to do’ and the response came from two witnesses (myself and another) that he was free to make his choice.
Matthew 18:20 says, “For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I with them.” Conviction of a crime must come from two or more testimonies (Deuteronomy 17:6); so too can liberty. And so my friend was “set free” from condemnation by two witnesses who stood by him.
Our inner motivation
The LORD searches our hearts and so must we… not one another’s heart (as in the speck in our friend’s eye verses the log in our own, see Matthew 7:1-4)…
Giving GOD our time and our stillness allows Him space to search us and communicate with us; it allows Him to speak to us and we to hear Him. He will reveal to us our innermost motivations, convict us when we need it, and set us free as well.
And then we may allow ourselves to walk in the freedom that Jesus died and rose again to give us. Knowing we are fully committed to Him and His leadership, we are free indeed.