—Genesis 50:14-15 (NASB)
There are things I come across in the Bible which confirm beyond any doubt that this is the inspired Word of God because there are things which I’m not sure a forger or inventor of fairy tales would include in a made-up account. One of them is this reaction by Joseph’s brothers upon their father’s death. If you’ve never been personally through it, then give praise to God, because whereas conventional wisdom might predict that such things bring a family closer together, the reality is that it often brings pressure on existing cracks to the point of breaking everything wide open.
One of the strange things about my childhood is that I spent a lot of summers working with my grandfather. Not so strange? Well, for more than 30 years he ran our town’s local cemetery. I grew up around funerals. And those experiences along with those of my own friends and family have caused me to witness some of the most bizarre and outrageous behavior. I have seen and heard things at gravesides and memorial services that you’d think were written for a movie of the week: people screaming at and accusing each other, people wanting to know what their “cut” of the estate is going to be, people sharing “secrets” that they think should now be brought out into the open — believe me, not every funeral brings out the best in a family.
Death is final. Anything unresolved which has been percolating beneath the surface now has nowhere to go except up and out like a volcanic eruption. There’s no longer any opportunity to straighten things out the right way, so all the wrong ways take over. And so I’d like to encourage you to make every good faith effort on your part to resolve differences with family members while you still have the opportunity. Althogh the effort may be rejected, when that moment of finality comes you’ll at least have personal peace on your own part. Don’t get lulled into the deception that there will always be an opportunity to set things right, to have that “talk”; the end will come and odds are we’ll experience the panic of facing no more opportunities to follow through our intentions.†††