Christians, Death, And Embracing Grief

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When a loved one dies, we suffer at the deepest emotional level. The shock of our loved one no longer being present with us reminds us of our own mortality. When we grieve we do not grieve for our loved one – we grieve for ourselves. We grieve because we are reminded of how short life is; how fragile our bodies are; and how important other people are in our lives. Unfortunately, many of us wait far too long to understand the great depth of this importance.

In order to avoid despair and regain hope many attempt to find solace in religion. Their hope is that one day they might see their loved one again. However, this is neither biblical nor healthy. Using religion in this manner simply covers up the grief, and doesn’t deal with it. As humans, it is necessary to express our grief and come to terms with our mortality.

Grief is a necessary human reaction that allows us to make sense of the trauma we experience in the death of a loved one. I see far too many Christians who fail to grieve properly because of some faulty belief. When we refuse to grieve we are refusing to be honest with ourselves.

Many Christians do not know how to grieve. They confuse grief with despair and they think if they grieve, then they are denying hope. The Christian often views death as freedom for the human spirit to reside in a “better place”. Many Christians feel as though they should “celebrate” instead of “grieve”. However, these are two completely different things. The celebration is not for the living, but the dead. Grief is for the living. If you feel the need to celebrate, you should first express your grief.

Many Christians have a heavencentric mentality toward life. It’s the idea that everything on earth is bad and we look forward to escaping this reality for the next. Ultimately, this is a result of bad theology created by a misunderstanding of what it means to be “in the world not of it” and our western understanding of “salvation”.

I would like to suggest that it is unbiblical to NOT grieve. Death is natural insofar as it is the inevitable result of human fragility. We were not created for death, but for life. We were not created to leave this earth, but to inhabit it.

 

Remember: “Jesus wept”.

  • charlesburchfield

    should ‘we’ (meta message:’all be on the same page about this?’) to be honest & w respect I get a bit irritated when I see bloggers write as if they seem to be pontificating from on high.

    • https://ericsenglish.com/ Eric English

      Charles…I am a bit confused. Certainly, you comment could be directed toward any number of posts that I have written. However, your comment toward this one is difficult for me to understand. The language is written in such a way that I am making suggestions and helping people understand why they feel a certain way.

      • charlesburchfield

        I think you are in a process that is very important for you. Maybe you are a person who owns their own process of grieving. You notice some of the ppl you personally know have a hard time grieving and you want to help bc you have a notion they need help and maybe permission to think of grief as a thing that can be gotten thru in a positive way where as dispair is different. I guess I am prejudice or at least prefer ‘i’ statements as in ‘I think’ & ‘this is how i am experiencing my grief process’ or ‘for me dispare has been different than grief and this is how I think it is different’.

        • https://ericsenglish.com/ Eric English

          Fortunately, I have never truly had to grieve. However, I have known many who have. And of those many of them have felt a sense of guilt for grieving because they think that they are being unfaithful in some way.

          To the question of making absolute statements: I was careful to make “my opinion” statements or to use non absolute transitions like “it seems to be”. In those cases where I did not do that I was stating those as being more factually based (such as reasons for why humans grieve, etc.)

          • charlesburchfield

            I am curious abt what motivated you to write abt grief if you haven’t ever grieved. I am interested in your story. I’d like to be your friend.

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