UNDERSTANDING

THE GRIEVING PROCESS

 

 

INTRODUCTION:

 

1.       Recently, in our church, there have been several members who have lost loved ones due to death. 

 

2.       Since many of our brothers and sisters are experiencing grief, I would like to speak on the subject of grief this morning.

 

THIS MORNING, I WILL PROVIDE FOUR POINTS ON THE SUBJECT OF GRIEF.

 

I.                           FIRST, WHAT IS GRIEF?

 

1.       Grief is an overwhelming feeling of sorrow, pain, regret, and sadness.  We feel as if our hearts are broken—that nothing will ever be the same—that happiness will never be possible again.

 

2.       Grief is a normal response to the loss of any significant person, object, or opportunity. 

 

3.       Here are some circumstances that causes grief:

 

a.       Death of a close relative or friend.

 

b.      Death of a pet.

 

c.       Divorce.

 

d.      Job or church change.

 

e.       Financial setback.

 

f.         Child leaving home.

 

4.       In the Bible, we read of several people who experienced grief.

 

*   In (Gen. 50:1) we read that when Joseph’s father, Jacob, had died, Joseph “fell upon his father’s face and wept over him and kissed him.”  Joseph was hurting inside at the death of his father.

 

*   In (John 11:35) we read that Jesus wept over his friend Lazarus who had died.

 

5.       As we can see, grief is a normal response to the loss of any significant person, object or opportunity.

 

II.                         SECOND, THE IMPORTANCE OF GRIEVING.

 

1.       A grieving person must allow him or herself to face and experience his or her grief in order to begin the journey toward healing.

 

2.       Grief is necessary.  It is a prerequisite to healing.

 

*   Jesus once said, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted” (Mt. 5:4).

 

a.      According to this verse, there must be a time of mourning before a person can experience comfort.

 

3.       If you are in a situation that is causing you grief, you must allow yourself time to mourn and grieve.

 

4.       Joseph knew the importance of the grieving process.  When his father died, he didn’t rush himself, nor did he deny his feelings.  In fact, the Bible says that Joseph and the Egyptians mourned for 70 days (Gen. 50:3).

 

5.       How long does the healing process take? 

 

a.      It could take months, years, or possible a person may never fully get over the death of a loved one.

 

ILLUSTRATION:

 

I lost my mother to cancer in 1991.  During that time, I had shed enough tears to fill up a lake.  However, over the course of time, my grieving became less often.  However, every time I visit her grave, I still cry.  Mourning is health and necessary to the healing process.  If we deny or delay our grieving, we deny or delay our healing.

 

III.                       THIRD, THE STAGES OF GRIEF.

 

1.       When people grieve, they normally go through many stages--but not necessarily in this order.

 

A.       SHOCK.

 

1.       Shock is a numbness or feeling of unreality.  This is generally the first stage of grief that a person goes through just after the death of a loved one.

 

2.       Fortunately, this stage does not last very long.

 

B.      DEPRESSION.

 

1.       Depression is the stage when you may not want to go anywhere, see others, or engage in normal activities.

 

2.       During this stage, guilt normally enters into the picture.  You start saying, “Why didn’t I…?"  "Why did I…?"  "Or If only I had…”?

 

C.      ANGER AND ANXIETY.

 

1.       When it becomes too painful to feel the hurt, you get mad instead.

 

a.       You may get mad at the person who died.

 

b.      You may get mad at yourself for things that you shouldn’t have said.

 

c.       You may even get mad at God (Ps. 13).

 

D.      ACCEPTANCE.

 

1.      This is the stage where healing beginnings. 

 

2.      You stop living in the past, as though the person was still a part of your life, and you decide to begin a new chapter in your life. 

 

3.      You don’t dismiss the memories or feelings that you had for the person.  You simply choose to go on with your life.

 

IV.                      LASTLY, HOW CAN WE HELP OTHERS WHO ARE GRIEVING?

 

A.                 BE THERE.

 

1.       During times of grief, most people don’t remember the words you say to them.  But they do remember if you were there.

 

2.       Never underestimate the power of your presence with someone in his or her time of grief.  Be there.  You will never know how much that will mean to them.

 

B.                LISTEN.

 

1.       One of the best things you can do for a person who is grieving is to simply listen. 

 

2.       A grieving person needs to talk about the feelings that he or she is experiencing, the details of the death and funeral, and the past memories of the deceased.

 

C.                USE GOD’S WORD TO COMFORT.

 

1.       Never tell a grieving person that it was God’s will that the deceased was taken.  It minimizes a person's death.  The best thing that you can say is “My love and prayers are with you”

 

2.       In addition, at the appropriate time, you may want to share some Scripture with those who are mourning.

 

3.       Here are a few Scriptures that you can use to help someone who is grieving.

 

*   "Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of His saints" (Ps. 116:15).

*   "The righteous perish, and no one ponders it in his heart; devout men are taken away, and no one understands that the righteous are taken away to be spared from evil.  Those who walk uprightly enter into peace; they find rest as they lie in death" (Isa. 57:1-2). 

*   "Then I heard a voice from heaven say, “Write: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.”  “Yes,” says the Spirit, “they will rest from their labor, for their deeds will follow them” (Rev. 14:13).

D.                HELP THE PERSON FACE HIS OR HER FEELINGS.

 

1.      Tell the grieving person that it is O.K. to feel anger, hurt, and pain and that God understands his feelings—because God knows what it is like to experience grief.

 

CONCLUSION:

 

1.      This morning, I hope that the information that I presented given has helped you to better understand the grieving process.