l. Each person has his own process of grieving and each death may well affect him differently. When ministering to others please don’t try to evaluate or suggest that your process will work for another.
2. When we try to “be strong” and not feel the feelings, I find that this only delays and often intensifies the grieving process. Allow yourself the grace to feel the feeling and to walk through the grieving season, but be sure to do it with God.
3. Take one day at a time. Matt. 6:34 says, “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Don’t try to plan ahead, God is in today. Let each today with Jesus affect the tomorrows.
4. Grieving is a process, not some task you can accomplish. If it’s done God’s way God will accomplish a work in you in His time. Allow God to direct the process as He knows what He wants to accomplish in you. God’s healing process takes time. Submit to His timetable, not yours.
5. Grieving not only affects people’s emotions, but their thought processes as well. I find I hear, but am not really listening. (You often sound like Charlie Brown’s teacher to me.) I read words, but don’t understand them including my Bible. I’ve found there are just some days I need to read a short devotional or watch a Christian teacher (although that too can be lost if it is not a short teaching). This is another place to give yourself grace. It will get better with time, just keep showing up. God will be faithful to meet you there.
6. Grieving can bring out the worst in people, even Christians. This is a time of opportunity for great family fights. It is a time that as Christians we have to step back and ask God to help us flow in the fruit of the Holy Spirit so that we can bring peace, forgiveness, love, salt and light to our families at this time. Remember we are to mourn as someone who holds “unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.” (Heb. 10:23)
7. The Inheritance:
Ask Yourself: Are there things you can give as a result of this person’s death? Is there history to share? Are there family items to save?
Inheritance comes in many forms. Don’t just focus on the things (stuff), look toward the next generation. Are there things you need to tell them or preserve?
8. Number you days. As you look toward your time on earth ending are there things you need to take care of or let your children and grandchildren know like the “hope that is in you?” Do it now for you only have today.
9. How to minister to others who are grieving:
a. Acknowledge their loss. I’ve met people after my Mom’s death who never spoke of it. I don’t know if they didn’t know what to say or they just didn’t care. A simple “I’m sorry for your loss” is fine.
b. Offer hugs, a listening ear, and maybe food. It is important that you take this time to focus on them. Please refrain from telling them you know how they are feeling or sharing your stories of past grief. We don’t know what to say back to you, and sometimes feel like we have to minister to you instead of receiving ministry.
c. People grieve in many ways and need the freedom to grieve as they choose as to their choice of service, visiting hours, cemetery or meeting afterwards, or whether they allow little children as a part of the day. Help them by being supportive and not critical of their choices. Families choose what works for them and helps them walk through it. Remember not all family members agree about everything, but often these events are a result of compromise between the various belief systems.