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Blessed Are Those Who Mourn

Great mourning needs a great comforter.

In Matthew 5:4 we read, Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” Mourning is an outward sign of inward grief, and it can be a very personal experience. We are encouraged in scripture, that there is supernatural comfort available to us through the Holy Spirit. We are also instructed to bring comfort to those around us, just as God has brought comfort to us.

There is no one way people mourn. Everyone has a unique experience when they suffer loss, however the following might be useful to keep in mind as you sit alongside someone who is grieving:

  • Just be there. Words are not always necessary: If you don’t know what to say, say I don’t know what to say”.

  • Avoid cliches,

  • Pray for them, continually. And let them know.

  • Allow space for real feelings — feelings are meant to be felt. Psalm 88 is a very heavy psalm filled with strong emotions and raw desperation. Part of the reason that these kinds of writings have been included in scripture, is to acknowledge that we are allowed to feel our feelings. God doesn’t turn a blind eye to this, so we shouldn’t either. Everyone cries.

  • Don’t be afraid to speak the name of the person who has passed on.

  • Don’t be a fix-it” person. Not every problem has a solution.

  • Don’t encourage them to move on”. This minimises the grief and stunts the mourning process.

  • Don’t be hyper-spiritual” or pretend to know the mind of God all the time. The psychologist Erna Furman suggests,
    Instead of trying to figure out what God is doing and get inside his mind, it’s better to say things like I have no idea what God is doing in this situation, but I know he is holy and good. Be as bewildered by your friends suffering as his is, and instead of providing answers from the mind of God, point him to the love of Christ who will never fail him.

We need others deeply alongside us in our mourning, we need to be known, Rather than a private, closed, exclusively personal experience, mourning is an inter-relational process in which dependency on others is vital for us to heal our fractured life, reassert our sense of self and our ongoing being”

Harris & Edmonds, "When Words are not Enough"
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