Personal Ministries Resources

10 Ways to Help a Grieving Person

by Dr Tom Ludowici

1. Contact the person
Make a short visit, write or phone your support. This is not the time for long visits or a Bible study.

2. Encourage the person in his/her own expression of grief
Avoid negative responses such as, "You should not feel that way!" or "Christians don't carry on like this!"

3. Listen without judging
Talk less and listen more. This allows the person to express feelings, no matter how jumbled the thoughts may be.

4. Beware of trying to explain the reason for the loss
Only God knows everything. Our explanations will not engender comfort.

5. Acknowledge the person's own grief journey
Each individual experiences emotional, physical, mental and spiritual reactions which vary from person to person and time to time – even in the same family. Do not try to force a person into a mould.

6. Speak of God's comfort
Grief is a time when one may feel totally alone – not even God seems to be present! Gently share the promise that God will "never leave nor abandon" the grieving. Pray briefly, then leave.

7. Choose literature carefully
Do not give the bereaved anything to read in the first few weeks – it may only inoculate the person against the helpful value of material at a later date.

8. Provide practical support
Do not say, "Let me know if there is anything I can do." Think of actions and do them: clean the car, prepare food, wash and iron, do the shopping, mow the lawn, polish shoes for the funeral.

9. Do not insist on the person coming to worship if they are not ready
God knows the heart, and the person may commune with their Lord alone for sometime, before being ready to fellowship with others again.

10. Maintain contact
It's easy to forget to keep in touch. Your visits or phone calls in subsequent months may be a very significant support to the person.
Normal grief may last a few months or several yeas. By simply walking beside the person, listening and supporting, you will minister in the name of Jesus.