For follow-up discussion and general commentary on the topic. Comments are sorted chronologically.
What about stating his good qualities, 'but God says we are never good enough to go to heaven. This is how you get to heaven...'
Reviewing someone's good qualities at their funeral goes without question. No matter how good our qualities may be, however, they will never get us into heaven. If they could, there would have been no need for Jesus to die. Only he was good enough with perfect righteousness to purchase my redemption and asks only that I repent and have faith in him as my Lord and Savior.
Titus 3:5 says it all in a very succinct manner:  not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit. Every one of our "good works" will never earn us eternal life for they, as great as they may be, do nothing to address my sin. Only the pure sacrifice of Jesus does that and we receive that benefit only thru repentance and faith in Him alone.
If you're depending on your good works, unless I've interpreted your comment incorrectly, you're deceived. Turn to Christ and him alone, plus nothing, even your good works, to receive eternal life.
At a funeral someone, or maybe a couple of people deliver a eulogy. Eulogy simply means "kind words spoken."
I don't think a funeral is the right setting for the gospel to be preached. I've been to a countless number of funerals where a preacher tries to use the fear of inevitable death to get people to "give their lives to Jesus." I don't think it should be done that way.
The gospel of Jesus being the Christ that takes away the sins of the world should be believed for the good news that it is, not as a fear tactic.
It's like asking an otherwise independent woman whose house has just burned down to marry you. It's not the right time.
The most vile person was once a baby and then a small child. There is plenty good that can be said about anybody if you focus on the positive aspect of life in general.
Example: I have no idea what X was going through that caused him to do what he did, but I can tell you this: he could really throw a pretty spiral when he was in high school. You've addressed his mistake, and you've changed the focus. Then it's time to recognize God for who He is and for how much He loves us all. If God doesn't love sinners He doesn't love anybody, because there is no one left to love.
I just recently had the opportunity to share a short eulogy for a friend who died at the age of 45 from cancer. He was a strong Christian and I was able to share with the large group of attendees about his faith in Christ. I believe a funeral is the perfect setting to share the truth of the Gospel, not as a "fear tactic", but as an opportunity for those who don’t know Christ as Savior and Lord to consider Him. A good example of Jesus doing just that was with Martha after the death of His friend and her brother, Lazarus. She was upset with Jesus who did not come sooner and heal Lazarus. He said, John 11:25-26 KJVS
 Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:  And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?
What did He do. He gave her the Gospel, simply and very clearly....no fear tactic or threat, just truth. You and I can not scare anybody into God's Kingdom. Only the Holy Spirit can bring anyone to an honest appraisal of their eternity and make the Lord Jesus real to them. Human generated fear will not do it, only God the Holy Spirit can, John 6:44. So I’d never hesitate to share the Gospel, especially at a funeral where one's eternity is the focal point.
Mr Wiseman, you have plenty of company. Over the years I've heard lots of sermons at funerals. In my opinion, it's not the time for a sermon designed to entice a response.
Are you suggesting that Jesus preached to Martha for the purpose of causing her to believe in the good news of eternal life in Him? Also, are you calling His one on one with her a funeral? If so, then I was born again at a funeral also, because I had a one on one with the Lord when I got saved. I didn't know there was any other way. I hope you understand what I'm trying to say. I wasn't at a funeral, I was at worship but it wasn't a funeral.
I didn't say I'd "hesitate to share the gospel."
The context of the initial question is that when a person with a checkered life passes, the eulogy can be difficult "to preach." I say it shouldn't be.
God loves all of us, even those of us who haven't acknowledged Him. That truth belongs at every gathering.
The question is about the deceased, I suppose. You say you gave a eulogy for " a friend.. a strong christian."
That's usually not a problem and is not what the question is about. It refers to preaching a funeral for a suicide victim. That's a little different for some of us than what your example is.
That's why I say funerals go better "for the surviving family" when we stick to saying kind words about the deceased.
We should put our "mission" on hold long enough to console a grieving family.
Thanks for your thoughts Danny and your well meaning ideas about sharing at the funeral of one who took their own life. My wife and I lost our only son who was aged 22 to suicide. He’d become ill with clinical depression while serving in the Honor Guard at Arlington Cemetery in DC and struggled for almost a year. That’s been 27 years ago and for years, even though I’d been a Christian for years before myself, as had my son, the loss was obviously the hardest time of my life.
If I had the opportunity to speak at the funeral of someone who’d died from suicide, I’d share my deep grief experience, my disappointment and anger with God for not healing my son, but MOST OF ALL, THE LOVE OF THE LORD WHO NEVER LEFT ME EVEN THOUGH I HAD SEPARATED MYSELF FROM HIM for years. I’d share the faithfulness of God who promised in Hebrews 13:5 to never leave me or forsake me. I know he did the same for my son and I have the promise from Him I’ll be with my son again.
Do I have all the answers now? No, but they no longer hold me prisoner as they did. Jesus is more real to me now than ever!
I’d share with the survivors how there is a resurrection to eternal life with Christ for all who know Him as Savior as my son did, Jesus promised that. There is always hope for any one who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved, Romans 10:13. Suicide is a sin, and Jesus died for the sins of the entire world, 1 John 2:2. There is always hope in Christ, even for those who die from suicide.
Amen, Mr Wiseman.
May God continue to use you and bless your life. God's will be done unto you.
God bless you as well, Danny. I hope my thoughts were of help to you and others who may come across these notes. The Catholic Church has taught that suicide is an unforgivable sin. There is no scripture that says that and they are limiting the promise of the Lord to forgive all sin for eternity for anyone who trusts Him as Savior. As I’d said, my son was a believer, had even taught Sunday school so if forgiveness when received is "eternal", how can a sin subsequent to the time of salvation when the promise of eternal life is made by Christ change that truth. If it could, salvation would not have been eternal and it follows then that God lied! That can never happen so the belief of the Catholic Church, if they still espouse that belief, is in error.
My prayer is for the Lord to comfort anybody who has lost a family member or friend to suicide. It can be one of the most difficult grief experience to suffer, but The Lord is also able to come along side and support you. Never give up on Jesus, he'll never give up on you since he knows your pain!
Amen again Mr Wiseman, to ALL you said.
Consider the source when you decide to give serious thought to opinions, and when you give thought to truth. The opinion that suicide is unforgivable is equal to saying that mental illness is unforgivable. Suicide is, in my opinion, a result of a serious mental defect. No mentally healthy person hurts themselves that way.
The catholic tradition teaches that every offense against God must be verbally confessed to a person they think is a priest for them. (Actually they don't say an offense against God, they say every "Sin.")
Their priest then has to confess his sins to another supposed priest.
My Priest is sinless so He already knows and has paid for all my offenses (even suicide, God forbid) with His earthly life, spilling His blood for me on the cross at Calvary. Hallelujah!
You say your son confessed his sins and was forgiven, saved for eternal life in Christ. Great, that settles that. Now.. why would God saves any of us if He knows we will DO something that's unforgivable? The unforgivable sin is the unconfessed sin of unbelief, which is blasphemy against God. It is to call God a liar. It is to say that God doesn't save, can't save, and is a hoax, He's not who He says He is. That's of the devil and unforgivable.
Even the false teaching of the catholic tradition is forgivable. They're doing it in ignorance.
Move on, Mr W.....
Yes, for sure, your words are inspirational. Thanks for your thoughts and prayers. Be blessed
Thanks for your kind words, Danny. Your theology is perfect, when Jesus forgives, he not only knows our past sins, he knows those in the future as well...and he still says, "I forgive you"! The reason he does this is because there is no past or future with the Lord, he resides in eternity! We are right there with him when we are "in Christ" thru faith. What a Savior and Lord we worship, love without measure, just like eternity!
God bless you brother.