10 Things You Need to Know about Grieving People

10 Things You Need to Know about Grieving People

“Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other… Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying. When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality… Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.” (Romans 12: 10, 11-13 NLT, verse 15 NIV)

The Bible encourages us to rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn. It’s a lot easier to celebrate a happy event like a wedding or graduation than it is to receive sad news, but we’re still expected to behave in a way that honors the circumstance. But, let’s be honest— it can be hard to know exactly what to say or do for a friend or loved one who is grieving. 

Thankfully, we have leaders like Nancy Guthrie to help guide us as we stumble along the slippery path of comforting and helping the grieving. Here are 10 things she thinks all of us should be aware of when trying to help or comfort a grieving person.

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1. Grieving people don’t expect you to have words that will fix this, but they do want you to say something.

To a person who has lost someone they love, it is as if a hurdle has been erected between them and everyone else until the loss is acknowledged in some way. So say something. Of course oftentimes we don’t say something because we’re afraid we’ll say the wrong thing. Sometimes we don’t say something because we want to say something meaningful, insightful, or helpful and we can’t come up with anything. But people who are grieving don’t expect that you are going to say something that will make everything okay, or that you’re going to come up with some spiritual or emotional insight they haven’t thought of to this point. They just want you to say something simple like, “I’m so sad with you.”