Question:

Good afternoon Brother Hamilton and all the saints in La Vista. I have a question that I hope doesn't sound immature or petty.

A very close, dear childhood friend of mine died recently and his funeral was today in a denominational church. Presiding over the ceremony was a self-proclaimed "apostle and bishop" and there were other "pastors" both male and female present and involved. There was a lot of instrumental music, "speaking in tongues," shouting, "catching the Holy Ghost" and a lot of the other foolishness that goes on in the denominational world. I ended up leaving before the ceremony was over because it got harder and harder for me to sit there through all of it and not want to shout the Scriptural truth to all present.

My friend's family and mine have been close for several generations and I wanted to give all of the love and support I could but couldn't stomach all of the nonsense that was going on, so I left. Since I didn't stay for the burial and repast, should I apologize or send a card to the family asking for forgiveness for leaving so abruptly? Even under these circumstances, God's truth stands and Christians have a duty to stand on and speak Scriptural truth but it just didn't seem like the appropriate time to address it. I'm concerned that his mother, brothers, etc. won't understand, even if I give them biblical explanations for why I left. Any advice or insight?

Thank you and, as always, God bless and keep up the great work!


Answer:

You are correct that the family won't understand. I would have left the services too. I've had to do similar things at weddings when the celebrations get too far from proper Christian conduct.

No, you don't owe anyone an explanation for why you left early. You didn't do anything wrong. You merely couldn't stand staying where people were doing things that God doesn't approve. Just be prepared that if someone from the family asks, to given them a gentle answer that service wasn't conducted in a way that you found compatible with the Scriptures. "But avoid foolish and ignorant disputes, knowing that they generate strife. And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will" (II Timothy 2:23-26). You never know, leaving an opening for a calm discussion might lead some out of error.

Thank you Brother Hamilton. I'm sure you hear this often, but the work you do is a credit to the Lord, His Word and all those truly desiring to learn while worshiping Him in spirit and truth. Thank you and God bless.