”For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven. A time to be born and a time to die. A time to plant and a time to harvest. A time to kill and a time to heal. A time to tear down and a time to build up. A time to cry and a time to laugh. A time to grieve and a time to dance.” Ecclesiastes 3:1-4 NLT
Thoughts for Today
As you prepare to minister to someone who has lost a loved one, you will find it helpful to have a basic understanding of the numerous stages of grief. Grief is a process. Although most people follow some similar patterns through this process, there is no set template or timetable. Most people start with a time of shock or denial and move from there into some kind of emotional release.
Shock and denial combine to form the initial stage. This numbing experience delays full comprehension of the intensity of the loss. As realization of the magnitude of the loss is acknowledged, emotional release is normal.
Emotional release comes as shock subsides and denial fades. The survivor begins to express grief feelings openly. At this stage, it is appropriate to encourage the survivor to express genuine feelings in keeping with the magnitude of the loss. The bereaved should be encouraged to realize this spontaneous emotional release is natural and normal.
Today’s scripture makes it clear that there is a time to weep and a time to mourn. Freedom to shed tears must be granted to the survivors as they process their grieving and learn how to forgive both self and others, including God. Repressed feelings of guilt, anger, fear and grief can have long-lasting harmful effects. As you seek to help, learn to be a good listener—not judging or condemning, but offering unconditional love.
Father, thank you for helping us understand that a time to weep and a time to mourn are part of life and can be an important part of the healing process. Teach me to listen without passing any kind of judgment. To encourage the vital expression of emotions during the grieving process. To love unconditionally. In Jesus’ name …
These thoughts were drawn from…
Handling Loss and Grief by Raymond T. Brock, Ed.D. This group study helps identify what the Bible has to say about handling the losses of life. To grieve is human; how to grieve Christianly is supernatural. It requires us to invite the Holy Spirit to guide us through the grieving process. This booklet also provides guidance in the use of Scripture to help the grieving. It offers biblical coping methods for facing loss and comfort to those who have faced loss. This guide also provides help for anyone ministering to those experiencing a "little death" in life: divorce, loss of job, etc.
Note: This curriculum was written especially for small groups and we encourage people to use it that way. However, it can also be used effectively as a personal study for individuals or couples.
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