Grief is one of the things that we will experience at one point in our lives. The fall of man brought about death in many forms. Spiritual death, physical death, environmental death, and emotional death. Any form of death brings pain to individuals as they navigate through what they are feeling present. In our present state physical death seems to be the most painful as it is a direct relation to our being. However, the word of God seems to show us that spiritual death has the biggest of consequences among the four deaths. Spiritual death leads to eternal death but one who has experienced a rebirth will live even though they die- John 11:25-26.
Death, dying and loss leads to grief. Everyone identifies and deals with grief differently. Some prefer to sit in silence and process it inwardly while others prefer to talk out what they are feeling.
However, we make several mistakes when it comes to handling people who are experiencing grief.
- We tell people do not cry – everything will be well.
Telling people not to cry is like telling them not to express their feelings. Crying is one of the ways in which an individual lets their heart out. Through their tears, you see the pain that may not be expressed with words.
- We become over religious in the name of comfort
We say it is the plan of God. As much as this may be true this does not help the healing process. It deepens their questions about the existence of God. If you are talking to a non – believer it creates room for them to furnish the idea that there is no God. If they are young in the faith doubt is planted and they begin to wrestle with questions such as why can a loving God bring such sorrow.
- We tell them time will heal their pain
Time doesn’t heal the pain. This is a big lie. Healing takes time but time doesn’t heal anything. Healing happens in the frame of time but time itself cannot deal with pain. Healing is a process it happens through social support, accepting the loss and working through the process.
- We tell them I know how you feel
If it is easy for you to say these words then chances are you are an external party to the grief. It does not affect you directly, therefore, you actually do not know how the person feels. Listen to their heart and understand. You may never fully know but you can understand.
- Saying he is in a better place
This sounds offensive because the person you are talking to wants to be with the person as you say that. Believers may have hope for a better place but non-believers will ask you do you mean six feet under?
Dealing with grief is never easy. Helping a person who is grieving is possibly even harder. If your friend is grieving a loved one, it renders you helpless when you really want to help but sometimes all they need is your presence, a shoulder to cry on and someone who will just listen without necessarily giving advice or solutions. You may feel that remaining silent is uneasy for you but it may work as long as you are present. You may say the best words to comfort someone but the person may still tell you – you do not understand because the truth is you don’t know what kind of pain they are feeling.
Therefore, do not be too quick to speak you may hurt the individual even more. Be present that’s the secret.