Ministering to Those in Grief

Ministering to Those in Grief

Weep with those who weep.
—Romans 12:15

Because we have been called to minister to those who are hurting, we might ask, “How can I help people who are experiencing grief?” Let me give you several suggestions using the letters A, B, C, D. These are practical tips for helping people who are going through the grieving process.

The A stands for act genuine. Don’t be pompous. If you are shocked when you hear the news, tell the person that you are shocked over the loss of their loved one. If you feel like crying, cry. But don’t hold in your emotions. Don’t worry about how you should act in front of the grieving person.

The B stands for be quiet. When they are around somebody who is grieving, some Christians feel like they have to talk a lot. They feed the need to quote Bible verses, and many times they only make things worse. The truth is you and I don’t have the answers of why. We should never pretend that we do. Many times, the best thing we can do is simply say we are sorry and be quiet.

The C stands for comfort the person by being supportive. Again, people don’t need your words. They need you. Chuck Swindoll tells a story of a little girl who lost her playmate in death. She reported to her parents that she had gone next door to the grieving mother to try to console her. “What did you say to her?” the parents asked their daughter. The little girl said, “I just climbed up on her lap and cried with her.” Many times the best thing we can do is simply to be supportive.

The D stands for do something practical. Sometimes the best thing you can do for a grieving person is washing the dishes or mowing the lawn or doing something very practical. I remember when my father died and we were busy trying to make the arrangements, my friend Mary sent us a gift card to Island Park Cafeteria. It was just such a thoughtful act. She knew we didn’t have time to prepare meals, so she did something practical. By the way, don’t ask somebody, “Is there anything I can do for you?” That puts pressure on the person to come up with something. Instead, announce what you are going to do. Just do something practical.

Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Getting Over Grief” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2008.

Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

Story from Charles R. Swindoll, “Growing Strong in the Seasons of Life” (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1994), 190.