A bad eulogy is as painful as a root canal dental procedure. A blunt eulogy on the otherhand is like a root canal without local anaesthetic. The mourners at one funeral got to realise the difference between the two when preacher man Orlando Bethel showed up.
This is how it unfolded:
June 21, 2002 – LOXLEY, Ala. — Authorities in Loxley, Ala., are investigating the alleged beating of a preacher by funeral mourners who didn’t like his blunt eulogy. Glynis Bethel told The Associated Press that her husband — the Rev. Orlando Bethel — was attacked during a June 14 funeral and dragged out of the church. That’s because Bethel told mourners the deceased was in Hell and that they were headed the same way. The dead man was Glynis Bethel’s uncle. Orlando Bethel referred to him as a “drunkard and a fornicator.” Glynis Bethel, who’s also a preacher, says “the fornicators didn’t like what he said so they got up and beat him.” She says police didn’t make any arrests, so she and her husband — who may have a broken nose — are taking out warrants.
I guess a layman’s moral of the story is: Live your life in such a way that the preacher will not have to lie at your funeral. What better way to search out the decay in your life than to measure up against the Word of God. It cleanses-the word of God is alive and powerful, sharper than any double edged word, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
God, it is often said, does not use a man until he has broken him to the right size. The rough edges and curves are smoothened and the frame perfected in a heat that hardens character. A broken man is one who has had a spiritual root canal procedure without local anaesthetic. With all your works laid bare before your own eyes and you realise that all your righteousness is but as filthy as rugs before a Holy God. You may fool people with words and sleight of hand but what matters most is what God will say the first five minutes after you have died-as you stand face to face. A good eulogy never saves, your tombstone will summate your life time of works with a small dash denoting the years between when you were born and died.
We might give a most impressive display of energy, vitality, and activity, but when we get to the end we shall have to ask ourselves, what’s been the point of it all? In the day of the judgment of the believer before God he may say to us, “What you did was interesting, and active, but you missed the point.” Thus I suspect that with many of us there is a very deep desire to be used of God. I confess, for my own part, that I will be quite content if it could be written on my tombstone what I once saw on another’s, “He was used of God.” –The Man God Uses, Ray C. Stedman
Orlando Bethel left that funeral without completing the eulogy on the 21st of June 2002. He returned home with a bloodied and broken nose. Yet I pray God sends a preacher steadfast and honest like Orlando to eulogise me. And as he peruses through the discourse of my life and tells the crowd, “My dear beloved, this man was a liar, a thief, a blasphemer and a fornicator. This man was depraved and broke all the commandments of God ” I pray the congregation is patient enough to let him reach the most glorious part that will say, “…but by the Grace of God, Jesus chose to die on a cross to purchase redemption for him. And beloved, he lived a life professing repentance and faith in the one who died for him-His Lord and saviour Jesus Christ!” I will be honest; I am ready to with stand the longest root canal procedure in slow-motion without anaesthetic for every tooth in my mouth. But after this life is done, I am greatly perturbed and immensely worried just to think that I would have run a race in vain when God says to me,
“What you did was interesting, and active, but you missed the point.”