The death of a loved one is undoubtedly one of the hardest things to come to terms with. You know that they’re in a better place, but their absence on Earth leaves a gaping hole in the hearts of many. The days following the tragedy are often full of sorrow, especially during the funeral. The funeral, though, is not only a place of mourning, but a place of honor. A great way to pay your respects is to write a eulogy, or tribute. Doing so is not an easy undertaking, however.
It can be difficult to think of the right words to say in such a tough time. You’ll want to do the person of honor justice by praising his or her achievements, life, and personality. While doing so is definitely appropriate, there is a limit. Too many generic facts and not enough spiritual guidance will do little to console the family. Even if you don’t have a way with words, uplifting quotes from others is an excellent addition. And of course, the Bible is the most uplifting book of all; what better source to use than God’s own word?
Needless to say, scripture must be used tastefully when supplementing eulogies. Too much of it will make the tribute less personal and may be unappealing to non-Christian listeners. Also, when quoting scripture, be sure to pick a version that is easy to understand. In this day and age, old versions would baffle many young listeners, but modern versions such as NIV make scripture understandable and more appealing. Most importantly, keep it relevant. Obviously, quoting the first verse in Genesis would NOT be appropriate. Instead, pick verses that radiate hope. The verses can relate to death, but they don’t have to. If you choose to go this route, be sure to pick verses that not only mention death, but have are uplifting. Verses may not have to be quoted in full or exactly the same. Some parts may need to be edited out to better adapt to the context; just be sure not to butcher the Word of God.
So once you’ve got ideal verses picked out, how do you blend them pleasantly with your own words of honor for your deceased loved one? Verses about strength and hope go well when quoted after a particularly dark moment in the paragraph (ex: Our dear friend is no longer with us, and we are saddened deeply. But John 3:16 says that because God sent his son to die for our sins, eternal life waits those who believe in him.) After naming a few of the person’s good deeds and/or kindness towards others, you could likewise quote a verse about God rewarding those kinds of people. Scripture is wonderful to use in a eulogy, but it works best when melded with sincere words of your own.
One important thing to mention in a eulogy is that there IS life after death in heaven because of Christ, and that there is no suffering in that place. This faith is often the one thing people have to cling to when hurt begins to take over. Though the end of this life may have arrived for your loved one, the beginning of the next has only begun. NOTE: If the person in question was not a Christian, do not claim to guarantee they are in heaven. Honor the person’s life, but don’t sugarcoat it or promise that he or she made it to a better place. On the other hand, DON’T make negative comments either. Keep the eulogy positive and encouraging, no matter the circumstances.
Here some examples of good verses to use:
Life After Death
Philippians 3:20-21 (NIV): “But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.”
John 11:15-16 (NIV): “Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”
Hope For the Mourning
Revelation 21:4 (NIV): “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
1 Thessalonians 4:13-14 (NIV): “Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him.”
Matthew 5:4 (CEV): “God blesses those people who grieve. They will find comfort!”
For Old Men
Titus 2:2 (NIV): “Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance.”
For Young Men
Ecclesiastes 11:9 (ESV): “Rejoice, O young man, in your youth, and let your heart cheer you in the days of your youth. Walk in the ways of your heart and the sight of your eyes. But know that for all these things God will bring you into judgment.”
1 Peter 5:5 (ESV): “Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”
For Old Women
Titus 2:3 (NIV): “Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good.
For Young Women
Proverbs 14:1-2 (ESV): “The wisest of women builds her house, but folly with her own hands tears it down. Whoever walks in uprightness fears the Lord, but he who is devious in his ways despises him.”