I know just how you feel
Pastor Mark Jeske
People mean so well. They really do. They want to show that they care, that they know what you are going through, that their hearts are with you. So they say, “I know just how you feel.” You want to snap back, “You have absolutely no idea how I feel right now.”
When you attend a funeral wake, use your time well as you are waiting in the long line behind the casket. Think! Think what you are going to say. Don’t pretend that you are on Pain Island with the bereaved. Your own experiences with death and dying might have been very different: “Each heart knows its own bitterness, and no one else can share its joy” (Proverbs 14:10).
Just be with people. Just show up. Hug them and say, “I love you.” Tell a story of appreciation for God’s gift of the deceased in your life. Listen to their words. Look into their eyes. You don’t have to pretend that you’re a professional grief counselor. You don’t have to try to fix them or fix their problem. They don’t need a detailed theological rationale. They don’t want to hear that this death is just a little thing. Death is often a huge bomb dropped on a family.
It may also be that your most helpful words come not at the funeral but a month later, when the numbness has worn off and the crowds have left. Each heart knows its own bitterness. Let them tell you how they feel.
God designed you for more than you can imagine. And he gifted you uniquely to fulfill his incredible calling! Find out what your spiritual gifts are with the tools in Gifted for More by Dr. Bruce Becker.
For more from Time of Grace, visit them at TimeofGrace.org.