May 18, 2024

What to Say When Someone Dies

ComfortThis is a tough topic for many reasons. If you’ve never lost someone close (as I had not until this past February), it’s hard to empathize with someone who has lost their loved one. For one thing, you feel like anything that you say is never enough to quench the grief– and yet that’s what you want to do. You want to take away the hurt, to provide comfort, but the absense cannot be replaced with meer words.

If the person did not know Jesus Christ as their personal Savior, then there is not much hope that you can give– though you can provide comfort to those that remain through hugs, tears and shared memories. If they did, then you can encourage them that they have gone to a better place, and be thankful that they are no longer in pain.

The biggest impact I think that you can have in the family who has lost a loved one is in your follow up. Many people will show up to the funeral, and many people will remember the lost loved one the week after, but do you remember the anniversaries that the loved one will have that they will no longer be able to share? How about the departed’s birthday or any special occasion that would be marked with the person’s presence.

You see, the greatest impact you can have on a family member is through your support when everyone else forgets.

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16 thoughts on “What to Say When Someone Dies

  1. Barbara Johnson, on one of her Christian/comedic videos, said that the most meaningful outreach to her family when they experienced the loss of a loved one was having someone step in and do the practical. For instance, a lady came and cleaned all their shoes (they had quite a few children=quite a few shoes)…got the dirt off or whatever and made them presentable for the funeral.
    My mil always likes to make sure the family has plenty of toilet paper (so often extended family come for funerals and camp out at the local home together)…
    Sometimes the best way to show how you feel is to show it not say it.

  2. “If the person did not know Jesus Christ as their personal Savior, then there is not much hope that you can give”

    That is an awful thought. You are hideious.

  3. Unfortunately, Michael, sometimes the truth is hideous. It’s definitely not something I would share with the family at the time of mourning– that would just make it worse– but it is also a sobering reminder of the weight of the message that Christians bear.

    People are dying and going to Hell today and we have the answer. What are we doing with it?

  4. Oh pah-leeze. There is no god or God. The age of enlightenment was in the 18th Century. Are we going into the darkness again? Do you not accept Darwinian evolution too?

  5. And somehow it’s more hopeful to say “I’m sorry, but your loved one has ceased to exist and you’ll never see them again”?

    Saying “there is no god or God” changes reality as much as me saying “there is no Michael.” You are there, and so is He. And the important thing to know is that He died in our place for the wrong things that we have done.

    It’s in the historical record, there’s mountains of evidence. You are certainly welcome to believe what you will, but you should at least look into it before categorically rejecting it.

    Oh, and by the way, before you go using date discrimination you should know that Darwin was alive February 12, 1809 – April 19, 1882– not so far removed from the 18th century you vilify.

  6. There is no Michael.

    I never said Darwin was a part of the age of enlightenment. Thomas Jefferson was. It was a time when western intellectuals realized that the formation of a stable nation must not have religion in any part of its architecture. We’d be like Iran if the founding fathers didn’t remove themselves from religious zealots.

  7. Thomas Jefferson was only one of the founding fathers. If you look closely you’ll see that not only were a majority of the founders Christian (at least nominally) but they also put protections into the Constitution for Religious freedom because the tendency of all government, not just “religious ones” is to oppress religion. The reason that we are different from Iran is not that our founders were not religious, but that they recognized the freedom of conscience– something that is foundational to Christianity. “Whosoever will” is the message of Christianity.

  8. You can’t win this argument. Really. Give up and embrace hedonism.

    “The tendency of all government… is to oppress religion”? Where did you come up with that one?

    Factions throughout Europe before the Age of Enlightenment (not Darwin’s time as we have established) razed and battled and killed. These factions had religious overtones.

    Religion is something to be feared.

    But, he’s a nugget for you. I believe in Jesus and what he taught. Jesus is just like Gandhi or Martin Luther King, Jr., men who were oppressed and fought back with the only means at hand, peace.

  9. I can’t win this argument? Please.

    Government both oppresses religion– whatever religion is not currently the accepted one. Hence our Bill of Rights. A quick look at the Middle Ages (or even the current state of affairs in the Middle East) would be most instructive. At each of these points in time there are accepted religions and unacceptable religions. King James, I believe, created the Anglican church because he didn’t want to be beholden to the Pope. And all of England had to be Anglican. The Roman Catholic church is notorious for the same kind of folly– mixing government and religion.

    And that is the problem. Whenever religion is mandated, all others are persecuted. However, the basis of this country founded on Christianity and freedom of conscience means that you’re free to be hedonistic and I’m free to be Christian and the government will not (or should not) interfere with our right to believe whatever we choose. And that is the Christian principle.

    The problem that I see most of the times when I come to this discussion (and you’re exhibiting the same logical fallacy) is equating the teaching with the practice. Jesus said that His kingdom was not of this world and that salvation is a free choice, not something to be coerced or forced into. This is exactly the opposite of the crusades. True Christians died for their faith– they did not hold high office and kill people who disagreed.

    And lastly, if you believe Jesus and what He taught He taught that He was the Son of God, sent to die for the sins of the world, and that He rose again from the dead. He taught that He created the world, etc. That flies in the face of your former statements.

  10. i cannot believe i came her looking for the “right” thing to say only to see some petty little argument over dumb religious/athiest crap ffs, if you valued your opinions that much,write a [expletive deleted] book, so people can “CHOOSE” if they want to read it or not!!!

    1. I’m unclear on the concept. I should write a book because that will allow people to be able to choose if they want to read it or not, but if I put the words online then people are compelled to read it somehow?

  11. yeah, i came here looking for the same thing. everyone looks for a reason, and they stick to it to explain why we live in the world we live in. isn’t that most peoples question…”why?” anyway, i don’t think it’s our place to judge and say who went to hell and who didn’t. how would WE know, anyway? it’s nobody’s place to judge. with this being said, what good and loving God would condemn his ‘children’ to an eternity of hell for the short time we have on this earth, and everybody doesn’t get a fair start? when you think about it, it’s actually quite unfair. if God is the God He says he is, then this concept falls apart for me.

  12. God doesn’t send anyone to Hell. You send yourself there. God has done everything He possibly can to keep you out of Hell and still leave you as a person with free will and not just a robot. That’s the way He made us–after His image, after His likeness, the power to say “yes” or the power to say “no,” the power to reject our own Creator, and of course to take the consequences.

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