Wise Practices: How To Help Someone Who Is Grieving

Wise Practices: How To Help Someone Who Is Grieving

Our current letter series “Wise Practices” aims to share practical knowledge and wisdom to help us grow as doers of the word. Each letter will share applied methods and answer a ‘how.’ These practices are not perfect or comprehensive. They are personal testimonies; shared knowledge and wisdom gained through pursuit and service that helped facilitate growth in our lives. We pray they help you grow as well.

“who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God”
2 Corinthians 1:4

For several years, I along with a few other members of our church, had the privilege of ministering to groups of people who were in the midst of grief. I was compelled to learn more about how to minister to those who are grieving when a good friend of mine tragically experienced the death of his daughter who was involved in a car accident on her 16th birthday. From those collective set of experiences, by God’s grace, I learned a few things that may help you if you find yourself consoling someone who is in grief.

Acknowledging those who are grieving is critically important. Avoiding a conversation because of the potential awkwardness may inadvertently communicate to others that we are apathetic to their grief. The truth is that at the point of deepest grief, others will remember very little of what we might say, and our words alone will not lessen their immediate hurt and pain. Also, since no two grieving experiences are identical, I try to avoid comparing their story to my own or others that I know. I do not know exactly how a brokenhearted person is feeling regardless of my personal experiences. Letting the person who is grieving take the lead in the conversation will minimize the risk of hurtful questions or comments. In the end, personal presence with someone who is mourning is far more powerful than words, so I’ve learned to stop worrying about getting my words just right and rather simply invite them to share with me and listen.

However, when a grieving person asks for advice, I always take them to God’s word. I strive to help them work through their feelings based on what they know to be true about God from his revealed Word. Some of the best Scriptures to weave into expressions of condolences are Psalm 9, 18, 34, 46, 73, 121 and Isaiah 41. I know their greatest need is to anchor into Christ, who is the only one that can offer them the strength, wisdom and peace they most need.

Finally, I have learned it is important for those grieving to not allow their identity to get redefined by the grief they are experiencing. For believers, the glorious truth is that our identity in Christ is a permanent identity that never changes. We remain a child of the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. We continue to have Jesus Christ living inside of us and our God continues to promise to meet every one of our needs, including our needs while we grieve.

Comforted in Christ,

David Brewer


David Brewer has served as an Elder of Tri-Cities Baptist Church Since 2009. He is married to his wife Lynda and they have four children; Abigail, Philip, Leah, and Elizabeth.