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For A Stranger
The prophet Nehemiah concludes his writing with a beautiful prayer.
It is one that all of us should pray.
The prayer is: "... Remember me, O my God, for good." (Nehemiah 13:31)
This was Nehemiah's earnest plea and desire that when his life was finished, he would be remembered "for good."
We remember different people for different things.
Our memories reach across the years.
- When Moses is mentioned, we think of his delivering the children of Israel from Egyptian slavery.
- When David is mentioned, we remember how he slayed a giant with a slingshot.
We have a unique capacity to remember.
We are here in memory of (name).
How will he be remembered by his family?
Above all, how will he be remembered by God?
- By his neighbors?
- By his working associates?
- By his community?
That is the crucial question.
All of you have known him better than I.
The details of his life and relationships -- I do not know.
This I do know -- in every man and woman there is some good.
It may not always predominate, but in every person there is good.
I ask you today to remember the good in this person's character and life.
Be loving and forgiving of the weaknesses and failures; let them be forgotten.
Let your memories be of that which you loved, and that which was well intentioned.
Jesus always solved deeply into people's lives to see the good there.
- He did not condemn Peter for his weakness.
- Jesus appealed to his strengths and developed his character.
- Peter became a good man of good works.
- Nathaniel was a prejudiced, bigot who said, "Nothing good can come out of Nazareth."
- He did not love Jesus, but Jesus loved him.
- Jesus saw the good in Nathaniel, and Nathaniel was transformed.
How unlike Jesus we are.
- Jesus did not condemn Mary Magdalene, a woman of the streets.
- He forgave her and believed in her potential when no one else did.
Today, we have come to focus on the good in the character, works, and life of (name), remembering
- We look for the bad, and we dwell on the weaknesses.
- We lose sight of the good and struggle that a person is fighting.
the admonition of the apostle Paul:
" Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure,
whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise,
think about these things. (Philippians 4: 8)
Paul wrote to his friend, Philemon, "I thank my God always when I remember you..." (Philemon 4).
And so today, we live to God our gratitude for the good we remember in our departed friend.
May we so live that the prayer can be answered affirmatively, "Remember me, O my God, for good!"
Sermon by Dr. Harold L. White
Email Dr. White at firstname.lastname@example.org