What can you do to comfort the grieving?
Just sit with them – Job 2:11-13 – Job’s friends did more by just sitting down with him quietly than they did by trying to talk him through his situation. It’s hard to know what you should or should not say; you can’t explain why what their going through happened. How you view it is not helpful when people are grieving. You can’t feel what they’re feeling at the time, even if you have felt it before. It’s okay to not to know what to say. It’s awkward. However, if the Lord does give you something to say, it will be short and sweet.
Let them cry – 2 Sam 18:33-19:7 – when Absalom died, David mourned for him. Joab wanted David to quit mourning and go sit before the people lest they revolt. David needed to cry. He held himself responsible, to some degree, for Absalom’s death because of what happened with Bathsheba. You can’t rush people in their mourning. You can’t enter into their mourning. You might identify with it, but it’s not your grief. You have to let them work through it with as much time as it takes.
Be kind to them – Gen 23:2-11 – when Abraham was ready to bury Sarah, the sons of Heth gave Abraham the choice of his sepulcher. Although Abraham was going to eventually pay for it, Ephron offered it to him free of charge. I remember the acts of kindness people did for our family when Dad died. These things stick with you for the rest of your life. Pastor Randy still remembers the couple who came and mowed his lawn after his first wife died.
Recount the good memories – Acts 9:36-39 – when Tabitha died, the women displayed the beautiful coats and garments that she had made. It helps to remember the acts of kindness and the good things that a departed loved one has done. Reminiscing about good memories is helpful and very comforting.
Attend the funeral – Lk 7:11-12 – when the widow of Nain’s son died, “much people of the city was with her,” as they proceeded to his burial. It does so much for the family members to see so many people pay their respects for their loved one. They may not remember each person who was there, but they will certainly remember how many were there.
Visit them later – Jas 1:27 – visit the fatherless and widows, particularly widows. We are to honor widows [1 Tim 5:3-4]. Hold them in esteem [unless they are wanton against Christ 1 Tim 5:11]. And provide for them [1 Tim 5:8]. When the arrangements are complete, the funeral is over and most of the family members have returned to their homes, loneliness sets in. Be sure to visit them then. They will appreciate the company.
Conclusion: there are so many little things that make such a big difference in the lives of those who are grieving. These are some of those things that are clear from the Bible.