Dealing With the Death of a Loved One

To learn more about dealing with life's difficulties, click here: Dealing With Problems The outline is attached below. Dealing With the Death of a Loved One I. Saying goodbye is hard. 1. The disciples were sad when Jesus told them that He would be leaving them (Joh 16:5-6). 2. The brethren wept when Paul left and would see them no more (Act 20:36-38). 3. Mary and Martha were filled with grief when their brother Lazarus died (Joh 11:32-33). A. They were deeply saddened even though they knew that he was in heaven and that they would see him again (Joh 11:23-27). B. Jesus Himself wept when Lazarus died (Joh 11:33-35). 4. When you love someone, it's painful to let them go (Joh 11:35-36). 5. Paul loved the brethren and desired to remain with them, while at the same time desiring to depart and be with Christ (Php 1:23-26). II. There is a time to weep and mourn (Ecc 3:4). 1. Mourning is good, necessary, and helpful (Ecc 7:2-4). 2. Jacob mourned the loss of his son Joseph many days (Gen 37:34). 3. The Egyptians mourned Jacob's death for 70 days (Gen 50:3). 4. Israel mourned the loss of Aaron for 30 days (Num 20:29). 5. They did likewise for Moses (Deu 34:8). 6. The disciples made great lamentation when Stephen was killed (Act 8:2). 7. Mourning the death of a loved one often goes through five stages. A. Denial i. People who learn of a terminal illness or the loss of a loved one, especially if it happens suddenly, will use the defense mechanism of denial to numb their emotions. ii. They will tell themselves "This isn't happening" or "This can't be happening." iii. They hide from the facts to avoid the pain. iv. This is the first stage of the grieving process. B. Anger i. After denial has subsided and reality begins to set in, the next stage of grief is often anger. ii. People will often be angry at God for allowing their loved one to die (Joh 11:21; Joh 11:37). iii. They might be angry with the doctors, family, friends, or even the lost loved one himself for leaving them. iv. These feelings are often irrational and cause the grieving person to feel guilty, causing them to be more angry. C. Bargaining i. Another stage of grief is bargaining by making statements such as the following: a. "If only I had sought medical attention sooner..." b. "If only I had gotten a second opinion..." c. "If only I had spent more time with him..." d. "If only I had been nicer to him..." ii. This causes guilt as mourners begin to believe that there is something they could have done differently to save the loved one. D. Depression i. This usually happens after the funeral is over and reality sets in. ii. Reminders of the loved ones during quiet times alone bring sorrow to the heart as we remember times we had with them and how much we miss them. iii. This stage requires time to heal. E. Acceptance i. By allowing yourself to feel the grief as it comes over you, you will begin to accept the loss and move on. ii. Resisting grieving and acceptance will only prolong the pain and will impede the natural healing process. 8. Tips on mourning A. Don't avoid it; this will only prolong the pain (Pro 14:13). B. When commenting on times to weep and mourn, Charles Bridges in his commentary on Ecclesiastes said, "These are God's times. Beware of changing them." C. Don't bottle it up inside - cry it out. i. Take time to think of the loved one you lost, and weep over them. ii. Get out pictures of them, remember them, and mourn their loss. D. After you have done this, then begin the process of moving on with your life. 9. During a time of mourning, often times the best thing that we can say to console the mourner is nothing (Ecc 3:7; Job 2:13; Gen 37:35). A. Often at these times, hugs, listening, or giving space are far more helpful than words. B. At those times we should just weep with them that weep (Rom 12:15). C. "A time of sorrow also must be mentioned as a time of restraint. Precious words are often wasted at this season. The time of silence is more soothing. We had better restrain our words, till the waters have somewhat assuaged. A voluble comforter adds to the trouble he professes to heal. He is rather a sore than a balm. Great wisdom is required to know when, as well as what, to speak." (Charles Bridges, Ecclesiastes, page 60-61) III. There is also a time to laugh and dance (Ecc 3:4). 1. Once you have mourned sufficiently, it's time to move on with your life. A. It's not wrong to feel happy again after a loved one has died (Ecc 3:4). B. Don't allow yourself to feel guilty for being happy (Php 4:4; 1Th 5:16). C. Being happy after the death of a loved one doesn't mean that you don't love and miss them. 2. David mourned and begged God to spare the life of his baby while the baby lived (2Sa 12:15-17). A. But once the baby died, David stopped mourning, went to church, and moved on (2Sa 12:18-23). B. David then comforted his wife afterward (2Sa 12:24). IV. Don't mourn as those that have no hope (1Th 4:13). 1. The loss of a loved one must never cause us to despair and lose our faith. 2. We have hope that we will see our loved ones again because Jesus Christ has conquered death (2Ti 1:10; 1Co 15:51-57). 3. Jesus is coming back to raise His people from the dead (1Th 4:14-18). 4. We will see our loved ones in Christ again. V. The Lord knows what you're going through. 1. Jesus was a man of sorrows (Isa 53:3). 2. Jesus suffered all of the sadness, mourning, and pain that we do (Heb 4:15-16). 3. Cast your cares upon Him for he careth for you (1Pe 5:7). 4. Take your cares to Him in prayer, and He will give you peace which passeth understanding (Php 4:6-7). 5. The Lord is nigh unto those who are of a broken spirit (Psa 34:17-19). 6. Weeping will endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning (Psa 126:5-6; Psa 30:5).
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