Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Blessed Are Those That Mourn

"You should be happy that your loved one is in a better place. It's time for you to move on with your life. It's what your loved one would have wanted you to do."

When we're experiencing grief, our well-meaning friends come along with their words of "comfort" and, well, in some cases, make us want to slap them! What do you do when all the precious-memories, whispering-hope's, and meet-you-in-the-morning's leave you as empty as the vacant chair at your table?

Well, to start, you can stop believing lies about the pain you feel, and start living with the truth.

Here are some things we've learned about grief:
  • It's a normal part of life. Those who haven't experienced it yet, will. Jesus did. Read John 11:35. People in the early church did. Read Acts 8:2.
  • We should be sensitive to others who are experiencing grief. Romans 12:15, "Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn."
  • Grief is not a sign of weakness. In the Bible, King David and his great soldiers returned home after a battle to find that their city had been destroyed and their families had been taken as prisoners of war. Here's how the Bible describes the reaction of these mighty men, "So David and his men wept aloud until they had no strength left to weep." I Samuel 30:3,4
  • There is no timetable for grieving or for moving through so-called "stages of grief." There may be many painful days, or the pain may be short-lived. Don't place unrealistic expectations on yourself.
  • Grief is a season of  life. Trees change with the seasons from the new buds of springtime to the mature shade of summer and from the beauty of fall to the barrenness of winter. In the same way, we experience the excitement at the birth of a relationship, the closeness as that relationship develops, the beauty of aging together, and this is followed by the heartbreak of loneliness when the relationship is broken by death - or for other reasons.
  • The good news is that the season of death is always followed by rebirth - it is true in trees and it is true for us. The hope of eternal life can give us focus beyond the pain of death. "My friends, we want you to understand how it will be for those followers who have already died. Then you won’t grieve over them and be like people who don’t have any hope. We believe that Jesus died and was raised to life. We also believe that when God brings Jesus back again, he will bring with him all who had faith in Jesus before they died." I Thessalonias 4:13,14
Keep in mind that you are not alone. Remember that David and his men were exhausted, wrung dry, and left in a vulnerable position. Still, the story continues with this statement, "But David found strength in the Lord his God." This is the former shepherd boy who had once written, "Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for you are with me." Now, he was living out what he believed deep in his heart: I'm not alone.

Go ahead, experience the pain, cry until you're dry, let out the tears and the moans, the questions and the anger. Live in the memories, and talk about your loss. No one knows exactly how you feel, but that doesn't mean they don't care. Allow others to share your burden as you share theirs. If you ever find grief overwhelming, or your comforters are making matters worse, keep in mind that Jesus gave us this promise in Matthew 5:4, "Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted."

Notes from Ask Me Anything About Grief by Tony Moore.
Video available.

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