Monday, November 30, 2009

Nothing to Say. Something to Do

The photos below are from The Seattle Times. They were taken as people mourned the killing of four police officers in Washington state.

Mark Hall, the leader of Casting Crowns, wrote a great book called "Lifestories". In the chapter "Love Them Like Jesus", Mark writes about several boys in his youth group dealing with the death of their friend's father. They had no idea what to say to their grieving friend. Mark gave them a simple yet powerful suggestion:
"Guys, you've just got to go love him," I said. "Don't think you have to have all the answers. You don't have to make some great spiritual pronouncement when you see him. You just have to be there for him and tell him you're sorry for what happened to his daddy and that you love him. And then you just hang out with him. You've just got to love him like Jesus-love him like He would, and love him to Jesus."

Later in the chapter Mark writes:
"All of the self-induced burden to make everything better creates a fear that causes us to pull away from our hurting friends. We heap all the pressure on ourselves. This is true even in a friendship between believers because we always want to have a spiritual answer for everything. We want to have the bow tied at the end. We want the quick resolution and immediate assurance that everything is going to be fine. Guess what? Sometimes it's not just fine. Sometimes you don't understand what's going on, and you're not going to know for a while, if at all."
"I had learned during a few such scenarios that there is really nothing to say. But there is something to do."

What should we DO when someone we know and love is grieving?
"You don't need the answers to all of life's questions. Just know that He loves them and stay by their side. Love them like Jesus."

(Today's post is part of the Blog Carnival hosted by Peter Pollock on "Grief")


  1. Great post, Mike.

    It works perfectly for tomorrow's blog carnival, too!

  2. Sometimes a true friend just quietly sits next to you while you cry and hands you tissues.

    I've been to more police funerals than I can count. The blue blood isn't quite out of me, even after 20 years. I'm grateful for your post, Mike.

  3. Good post!

    And so true about not needing all the answers. Actually, 'having all the answers' for someone that is grieving is an oxymoron. We don't have the answers - there will always be mysteries. Just being there and saying I'm sorry is enough.

  4. I agree with the idea of just being there. In my experience, the only person who comforted me when my father died years ago was the one who didn't talk a lot. He was just there, not particularly doing anything, just staying around. He didn't know how much I appreciated his gesture (and I forgot to tell him!) Thanks for reminding, I gotta go find his email address.

  5. This is such a great post Mike. And so true. We don't have to have answers. Just sit and help them cry...

    Still praying for you my friend. Hope you're doing well.

  6. So true, Mike. I remember at the funeral home after my dad died, I was just so glad to see those who showed up. They needed to say nothing. Their presence said it all.

  7. I like this post. I think this is where we get stuck oftentimes. We think we need to know what to say or have some inspiration or encouragement when really being there and loving them (even if it's clumsy) will mean everything to the person grieving. Thanks Mike.

  8. Great post. I live in WA state and this is all over the news. Such a waste and a tragedy...

    "Love them like Jesus"... I love this!

  9. "You don't need the answers to all of life's questions. Just know that He loves them and stay by their side. Love them like Jesus." Great words of wisdom Mike!

  10. good advice.

    i hope you added this post to the blog carnival on grief. at peter p

  11. When there's no sense to be made, we sit, with our arms around the hurt. Great post.

  12. Great post, just love them like Jesus, be their friend, just be there.

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