Everything You Need to Know About Grieving -From a Christian Perspective
When Death Happens
If you haven't experienced the death of someone close to you as yet, then I am very happy for you. I am sorry to say, that unfortunately, one day you probably will.
Death is something that happens to everyone and the Bible says that it will continue until it is cast into the lake of fire. (Revelation 20:14)
Sometimes people say that death does not surprise them because the person was sick, suffering, or old and they knew it was inevitable. Other times when the person is very young or just glowing with good health, it's described as a terrible shock.
I think that whether young or old, sick or well, death is a shock each time.
If we look through the pages of history, we will find that man still can't come to terms with death. If we look at the world today we will see that science continues to work feverishly to find ways to beat death.
The Christian does not fear death the way that some people do. This is because of the promise of eternal salvation through Jesus Christ.
What Christians Believe
When it comes to someone dying, Christians believe that that person will pass from this life into another, permanent one. The place where the soul will reside forever can be one of two places - Heaven or Hell.
This can be a troubling truth or a great comfort to the believer in Christ.
If the one they loved was a fellow Christian, then they are comforted to know that the loved one is in Heaven, or will be (according to their doctrinal beliefs about Heaven) and that they, being a Christian will be able to meet that loved one again.
If, however, the one they loved was not a follower of Christ then the truth of this will be quite troubling to the Christian believer and the feeling of great distress will prevail.
Most Christian believers (I speak of both those who truly are and those who say that they are) placate themselves and keep themselves from being in that terrible place of not knowing by saying that in the moment of death a man can change his mind and can be reconciled with God. I have never yet heard anyone say to me that they were distressed about the state of a loved one's soul before they died. Those from the Protestant branch say that the reconciliation probably happened moments before death and those from the Roman Catholic branch say that they will simply have to go through Purgatory but it is all right because they will be able to pray for them to be able to get into Heaven quickly.
To be honest, I have found myself wondering about this and while I do admit that there is a possibility of the renewing of mind body and soul at the moment of death, I also know this - "Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth." Romans 9:18
As this article is not intended to deal with the mind and soul moments before death, I digress.
Are Christians supposed to be sad when a loved one dies?
This is debatable and something I couldn't put my finger on for years.
We have all seen the funeral programmes. The ones that say 'Celebrating the life of insert name here'. The life of the person is supposed to be celebrated and the fact that they go on to new life is a celebration too.
This life that we loved so much and are so grateful for is leaving us behind. We do not know when next we will see that person again.
Little Women - Beth's death
What does the Bible say?
If you have read or know a bit about the Bible, you will know that in it are the records of many who have lived and have died. There have been those who were enemies of God and those who served God.
Finally, there is the death of Jesus Christ, Himself.
When the ones they loved died, the people mourned and were grieved.
"And the children of Israel wept for Moses in the plains of Moab thirty days: so the days of weeping and mourning for Moses were ended." Deuteronomy 34:8
David mourned for Saul and his best friend Jonathan when they died as well.
"Then David took hold on his clothes, and rent them; and likewise all the men that were with him:
And they mourned, and wept, and fasted until even, for Saul, and for Jonathan his son, and for the people of the Lord, and for the house of Israel; because they were fallen by the sword." 2 Samuel 1:11-12
This 'man after God's own heart' even took up a lamentation for Saul and Jonathan stating that Jonathon's love for him was wonderful and that he was distressed for him.
Then Absalom, his own son died and though to his last he lived as his father's enemy, David was still stricken with grief.
"And the king was much moved, and went up to the chamber over the gate, and wept: and as he went, thus he said, O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! would God I had died for thee, O Absalom, my son, my son!" 2 Samuel 18:33
When Jesus Himself died, His disciples were stricken with grief and were like sheep without a shepherd.
"But Mary stood without at the sepulchre weeping: and as she wept, she stooped down, and looked into the sepulchre,..."
"Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away." John 20:11,15.
Indeed, even when they knew for certain that He had risen for they had tasted food made with His own hands, they were sad that He would leave them again.
"And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel;
Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven." Acts 1:10-11
The disciples wanted one last look. Then they waited for the Spirit, as He promised.
In the Old Testament, those who belonged to God know of His promise to come and looked forward to the blessed hope. They believed that those who belonged to Him would be taken care of by Him just as those in the New Testament did.
Why did they cry and weep then? Why were they sad and distressed?
The reason is simple - they would be separated from the one they loved for an indefinite period of time and they would miss them.
When someone we love who knows God goes to be with God we miss them. Not only because we love them but also because we will miss the wisdom and advice that we would have received from them in the past. The fact that we were able to commune with them and gather in His name will be missed.
Hence the tears.
It is a good thing to cry when a godly man dies. Those tears will continue as long as death continues.
One day, though, it will be destroyed and cast into the lake of fire.
Then, all our tears will be wiped away.
Until then, death will continue but the sorrow which captivates our souls is God's sorrow.
Questions & Answers
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