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6 ways to encourage someone who is grieving

6 Ways to Encourage Someone Who is Grieving

by Word of Life Bible Institute student Lindsey Shumaker

A little over a year.

That’s how long it’s been since my life forever changed.  I never knew how I would handle grief, but let’s be honest, no one ever really knows until it happens.
In the midst of all the heartache and tears, I still can find joy and rest in the promises from my Heavenly Father. Yet after losing a loved one, many people have a difficult time knowing how to relate and understand the feelings, emotions, and thoughts of someone grieving. Coming from someone who has recently gone through this, here are a few pointers on how to encourage someone who is grieving.

Be specific about how you can help

“Let me know if you need anything!”I tend to hear this a lot; I mean even I say this to people. This saying is usually taken so lightly. Every time someone told me this at my father’s funeral, I thought to myself yeah, bring my dad back? I know they were just trying to help and to console me, but it’s not exactly what I wanted to hear at the time. So instead of saying that, just let the person know that you’re here to help in any way you’re able, and actually take action to do it!

Be a listener

Instead of trying to give advice on how to fix it, and attempting to put yourself in their shoes, let them pour out their thoughts to you. It’s comforting to know that someone wants to listen, you may not be capable of understanding. However, you are capable of being the ear they need to vent to. You may not have the right words to say, but let them know that you care for them.

Pray with them

“I’m praying for you.” Christians tend to say this without remembering actually to pray. One of the most heart-warming things that someone did for me was asking, “Can I pray for you right now?” Even just simply saying, “You’ve been on my heart lately, how can I be praying for you?” Pray for the person right at that moment.

Realize that there are good days and bad days

Everyone has these. Sometimes I will be in the middle of having a good day, and all of a sudden I’ll get emotional over something that reminds me of my dad. Dealing with a death in the family involves a lot of changes and adjustments, causing your emotions to go all over the place. Be patient with the person. Know that sometimes they might just need to be alone, and other times they might want to go out and do something to get their mind off things.

Encourage using Scripture

Try writing the person a letter or card. With this, they can always go back and read your encouraging words in their own time, in case they aren’t in the mood to talk in person.  Here are a few passages that are good to meditate on in times of heartache:

John 16:22 “So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you.”

This verse reminds us that yes, we will experience tough times now, but we can cling to the joy that God gives because one day we will be reunited with Him and our loved ones!

Revelation 21:4 “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

In Heaven, there will be no more pain, sickness, and most importantly death. Jesus said he will wipe away every tear! What an amazing promise to put your hope in!

Philippians 4:7 “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Even in dealing with a loss, God can provide the most indescribable peace in our hearts. I was able to have this peace, knowing my father is now in Heaven, cancer-free, and that I will be able to see him again.

Be faithful to follow up

It’s only been a year since my dad passed away, but it’s been a year of growing, experiencing life as a teenager without a father, and going through first holidays and birthdays without him. This first year has involved making tons of changes and trying to fill the gap that my dad has left. I truly believe that it hasn’t been until the beginning of this second year when the grieving kicked in, and when I’ve fully felt the loss of him in my life. This is why I think it’s important to remember to check up on those grieving, even after a few months or years pass by.
I hope that these few suggestions can help you encourage someone who is grieving the loss of a loved one. I urge you to commit to praying for them regularly and to remember to check up on them. They are going through many different emotions, and will need a caring friend during these times!

14 thoughts on “6 Ways to Encourage Someone Who is Grieving”

  1. Thank you so much for sharing this. A good friend of mine also experience the same thing and today is almost one month since his dad left. Almost everyday he can’t sleep and cries at night. I tried to calm him down and gave him some bible verses and oray for him but he keeps crying every night. I just wonder and wanted to ask you.. How can you handle it?

    1. Angie KiddGaffney

      Day by day…..and lost of trying to stay IN THE PRESENT….I lost my twin 3 yrs ago, mom 2 and my cat (closest thing to a child ) of 21 yrs , 2 months ago…it’s a struggle but it does get better…anger in waves, emotional…just know survivors guilt won’t last forever..they want you to be HAPPY and they live on THROUGH you…I have to remind myself. Also, watch series on FBK , “Sorry for YOUR LOSS” it’s wonderful and relatable!!

  2. You words are so real to me, and the scriptures are so lifting. I appreciate every word. Your experience best explains the feeling and needs of the bereaved and will guide me in providing comfort for my grieving sister. Thank you so much.

  3. My daughter Jennifer Velasco Alexander pass on July 12 2015.Her husband and son survived.I will never be the same, and when you lose a loved one a child it could possibly do or change you in a very bad way forever.I decided to fight the pain.To my daughter 1987-2015 .love u with all my heart and soul

  4. mary beth shipley

    Tina, as Lindsey so wisely suggested, I will pray for you now: ‘Dear God, please may Tina feel Your presence and love each second of the day. Comfort and sustain her. May she (and all those grieving) have a full understanding and revelation of Your sweet promises of Eternal Life. Restore joy and peace in her heart, and may the sweet memories of her precious daughter stay clear and treasured in her and her family’s hearts. Mend those broken hearts Lord. In Jesus’ name we pray to the glory of the Father.


    Ahhhhhh this words are so relevant to my situation I lost both parents some years ago my sister a littler later, my last born son 26yrs old on the 14th of November 2017 and I am a pastors wife, we have been redeemed by the blood of Jesus in my house hold, the wiping away of tears is true He will do that, Revelation 21:4 If you can read the book of JOB you will be comforted indeed this is nothing comparing to his (Jobs) situation and it is true that we need people who may not have the right words to say, but let us know that they care and praying for us . all in all it is wonderful this to be saved or born again let us pray for each other

  6. I just lost my grandma.I just wish I was closer to her when she was alive .I really miss her.i hope and pray she is now in heaven with Christ.

  7. Thank you for pointing out that there are going to be good days and bad days in the grieving process. My cousin lost her father a few weeks ago and she is really struggling. I want to look into support groups in her area to help her. Hopefully, we can find something that will really help.

  8. Thank you for the word of God. And also to the advises.
    My friend, an eldest sibling, loss her youngest sibling last May 21.
    I cannot utter any word to uplift her and let her pour out her emotions.
    This article helps, you are a blessing..

  9. Thanks for the encouragement. My niece sent me the link. I lost my brother about a month ago. We had a chance to bond. He left home to live in Chicago at an early age and was much older than I. He wanted to come back home to live with me and God allowed it to happen. He loved church and singing. I’m grateful for that. He was here for only 8 months. He died of a heart attack. I love and miss him so much. It hurts to think about it. I’m still emotional. I know the word says that God knows what’s best. I trust his timing. But it still hurts. I can’t help but wonder if his soul is at peace. I often shared the word with him, letting him know that he should give his life to God. He knew the word, but I feel doubtful. And it makes me sad. I’m taking it one day at a time literally.

  10. Thank you for sharing this grief and process. I was surprised to read that this was written by a teenager, as the thoughts were so mature and wise.
    God bless

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