Over the course of 20+ years in ministry, I’ve done a lot of memorial services. Each one is a unique and special tribute to someone’s life. However, there are always two emotions that occur without fail. The first, of course, is sadness. Losing a loved one is emotionally overwhelming… the feeling of loss and loneliness is punishing to the heart and difficult to bear.
The other emotion… the one that I see often (almost as much as sadness)
The stinging heartbreak that comes when a person realizes that they are no longer able to make it right. I hear things like.. “I wish I had one more day with him.” or “I hope she knew how much she was loved” or even… “If I could just tell them one more thing…”
Why is that? Why do we feel that way at funerals? Why don’t the people we meet everyday know how we feel about them?
It’s easy really. Because we think they already know.
I heard a story once about a husband who was being yelled at by his wife. Everyday she nagged him and pestered him with the same statement, “Why don’t you tell me you love me anymore?” After several weeks of this, the man simply couldn’t take it anymore. After his wife finished her daily tirade, he slowly turned to her and said, “You want to know why I don’t tell you I love you? Because when me got married, I told you then. If that ever changes… I’ll let you know.”
Why don’t we say it more? Do your friends know you care about and love them? How about your spouse? Has there ever been a mentor in your life? Brother or sister?
If they were gone tomorrow…. would they know how you feel about them?
Life is way too short to go around assuming people know how we feel. Look at today’s verses…
“So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” John 13:34-35
“Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?”
Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” Matthew 22:36-39
“For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16
Jesus Christ didn’t wait to tell us He loved us… in fact, He climbed on a cross so there would be no doubt… He was crucified to eliminate any wonder… We never have to guess God’s intent or doubt His feelings.
Jesus is passionate about us
In the verses, He tells us to express our love for each other in a similar way. Sacrificially…wholly…without reservation, embarrassment, shame, or condition.
Love those God has placed in our lives… and remind them of that love regularly. Who is it in your life that you haven’t expressed your feelings towards in a while?
Is it your friend who has never left your side while you lay in the pit?
Is it a spouse who stood by your bedside while doctors treated you?
Is it a mentor who never made you feel like you were bothering them with the 500th question?
Is it your child…who is still trying to figure out the world, their emotions, and your rules all at the same time?
Is it someone who has hurt you in your family. The pain runs deep. They seek underserved forgiveness and you’ve met them with silent stares.
Who needs you to tell them you love them today?
I found this anonymous quote: “Have you ever wondered which hurts the most: Saying something and wishing you had not, or saying nothing, and wish you had?”
Mistakes are fixable but regret is forever. Don’t wait. Make today the day you tell those special people in your life how you feel about them. Love them, encourage them, and remind them that no matter how deep the hole, how dark the valley, or how challenging the storm… you will be there for them.
Because they matter to God.
Because they matter they matter to you.
and you love them.