Grief is hard to watch and often we swoop in with words that add to people’s pain. Things like, “At least you can have more kids,” or, “They aren’t suffering anymore,” or, “All things work together for good for those who love God.” We attempt to point out the bright side, assuming someone so deep in grief is incapable of seeing what we see.
Have you said these things or things like them? I have. The problem with these statements is they have an unspoken second half. Megan Devine says, what people aren’t saying but imply is, “…so stop feeling so bad.” The problem with that is we aren’t supporting people in their grief. We’re trying to rob them of it.
It’s natural to want to see people’s pain end, but when we say these things to people, we don’t end their pain at all.
No combination of words is capable of curing grief.
So the pain continues, but now the grieving person knows they need to hide their sadness from us. Their pain that was grief is now grief layered with loneliness.
Our culture abandons people who are grieving. Either move on or we’ll move on without you, is the message grief stricken folks receive. But the Bible tells us the natural rhythm of life in a broken world is celebration followed by destruction. Triumph followed by tragedy. That’s why Paul said to, “Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.” Don’t gloss over their pain. Don’t try to distract them from it. Don’t try to shut it up in the past as if it should not affect their present. Witness the pain. Honor the loss. That’s how we love each other well. *Romans 12:15