Fruit of the Spirit

For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth...Eph 5:9

Summer 2007                                                            Volume 8,  Issue 3

What Do I Say/Do In Time of Loss?

“Death never takes a holiday.” This sad fact is seen everyday in the obituaries. It is expressed as a long funeral procession makes its way to the cemetery. It is heard in announcements at a worship service, or read in church bulletins. It is demonstrated at hospitals and nursing homes when families are wracked with the pain of knowing that their beloved “is gone.”

In my work with grief, I am often asked what can be said or done to help in times of loss and tragedy. The words “I feel so inadequate” are often stated, and rightly so. Nothing we can say or do can undo the death that has occurred or the wrenching pain that is being felt. Yet, there are some things that grieving families have told me were of help and comfort to them that caring “others” did for them. Following are some of these suggestions.

“What Do I Say?”

Nothing can take the place of your presence. It is not the words you use as much as your presence that is so important. When death occurs, go to the grieving family and be with them. Job’s friends came to him and sat seven days with him without saying anything (Job 2:13). In the New Testament, Mary and Martha had friends to be with them when their brother Lazarus died (John 11:31). Nothing can take the place of your presence.

Some folks do not know what to say, and thus they avoid going to the funeral home or funeral. Others say too much and ask inappropriate questions or make inappropriate statements. Still others burden the grieving family with stories of their own losses that they tell them about. The best thing I have found that can be said is this: “I am so sorry to learn of your loss. I love you and I will be praying for you.” Such words can only be appreciated. These words, followed by a hug, or the grasp of a hand, let the grieving family know that you are concerned and that you care.

“What Do I Do?”

After you attend the funeral (if at all possible), do not forget the grieving family in the days and weeks to follow. If the death was sudden or

unexpected, the reality of their loss may just be beginning to sink in as they return home from the funeral. They need the presence of family and friends then more than ever. It has been suggested that 97% of friends stop visiting the grieving family two weeks after the funeral! Continue to go and be with them. Instead of saying, “Call me if you need me,” let them know that you will be calling on them in a few days. Reassure them of your desire to do anything you can to comfort their hearts and to help with any need.

If there are small children at home, offer to keep them while necessary errands have to be run. Laundry work, cleaning the house, and taking food to grieving family members can all be beneficial as they try to deal with their shattered lives.

Romans 12:15 tells us to “weep with them that weep.” Our continued love and support to hurting family members can be one way of showing the love of Christ within our lives.

By Don Williams
*Don is a minister and a grief counselor*

Fruit Of The Spirit

Published quarterly, in the interest of New Testament Christianity in California, under the oversight of the elders of the Vacaville church of Christ. It is mailed free upon request. Direct all correspondence to:

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Page 1 - Elusive Victory | Page 2 - What Do I Say/do In Time Of Loss?
Page 3 - Prison Report: Hope | Page 4 - Old Testament Studies: The Tower...
Page 5 - The Awesome Responsibility of... | Page 6 - Cutting Okra and Killing Wasps
Page 7 - Christian Evidences | Page 8 - Why Baptism?
Page 9 - Why Baptism? [Continued] | Page 10 - Continuations
Page 11 - The Weakness of Islam | Page 12 - Advertisements

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