Today is August 15, 2014. Four days after Robin Williams was found dead and in the midst of reported stories of Christians being murdered in Iraq for their beliefs.
This is a tragic and sobering week. I’m reminding myself to maintain a sincere appreciation for life and a deep love for those closest to me.
As someone who has experienced losing a close loved one, I can say that good can come from something even as painful as death. But, for those who are the closest to it, the positive side will take longer to realize and experience.
Because of this, we should always be mindful of how our words and actions could affect those who are in the throes of losing a loved one, even if they are miles away or we don’t even know them.
The stories of Christians being tortured certainly deserve & should receive public awareness but comparing that issue to the amount of attention a celebrity who has passed away receives is not the way to go about it. Unfortunately, this happens.
The Christians who are being murdered is tragic but so is the death of Robin Williams.
Sometimes, Christian or not, there is a tendency to use a persons death as leverage for the sake of an agenda. While the agenda may be worthwhile (and good) the life of the person who has died holds more value, especially to those who loved and lost them.
Below are three ways to respond when others lose a loved one.
1. RESPECT THEIR LIFE
Whatever a person believes and however they conduct their life does not take away from the value that their life holds. I hold to Christian values and believe in God who sent Jesus Christ to be the Savior of the world. When a person dies who does not believe the way that I do their life does not hold less value than a person who shares my beliefs.
Life is equally valuable.
God demonstrated this example:
John 3:16-17 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.”
Value is determined by the amount someone is willing to pay. God paid the same price for every person demonstrating how valuable each life is to Him.
When a person dies, honor their life. Doing so does not align you with their way of life or beliefs. It simply models respect for life itself. Understand that they had feelings, dreams, ideas, hopes, friends, family, and much more.
Value their life.
2. Have Compassion For The Family
Realize that the person who has died still has family and friends who are suffering their loss.
The word compassion means “a feeling of wanting to help someone who is sick, hungry, in trouble, etc.”
Wanting to help others who are in distress by the loss of a loved one can be confusing. Often, we don’t know the words to say or what to do so we end up saying or doing things that are not helpful.
The Bible shares how we can be most helpful to those who are hurting.
Romans 12:15 “Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.”
The verse does not say to try and provide answers or understanding but to share in their sorrow.
Here are few ways to be loving and helpful with your words:
*Acknowledge the situation with care and mercy : “I heard that passed away.”
*Express your sympathy for the one who is hurting: “I am so sorry that you are going through this.”
*Offer your support: “Please let me know how I can help you.”
If the block of ice truly was on the outside our attempts to quickly provide relief may be more helpful, but it’s not. When others lose a loved one they are hurting on the inside. Unfortunately, we can’t just reach in roll the block away. Only by lovingly expressing compassion and sharing in their sorrow can we help melt away the pain.
So, let’s be mindful that every comment, tweet, Facebook post, or conversation carries potential to share in others sorrow or add to it the one who has suffered loss.
3. Remain Hopeful
Remain hopeful that the pain will ease.
Remain hopeful that lighter days are ahead.
Remain hopeful that the loss will be used for good.
And Remind Yourself..
Remind yourself that God is loving.
Remind yourself of the pleasant memories.
Remind yourself why life is valuable & worth living.
My experience and faith is that God is close to those who are hurting. He knows how to respond when we lose a loved one.
Psalm 34:18 “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.”
Do you have ways that you could suggest to be comforting when others lose a loved one? Please share your comments below.