We’ve all been in an unfortunate circumstance that made us grieve. Either the loss of a loved one, financial difficulty, dismissal from a job, failure in an exam, a painful breakup, a deal that fell through, betrayal, public embarrassment, family issues, a health challenge, or simply, clinical depression. What makes those events all the more painful is that they are mostly unforeseen- they take place suddenly, when we are least prepared against their effects. The fact that we have no control over most of the difficulties in our lives can be extremely devastating.
Sometimes when these unfortunate events happen, we just want to shut the whole world out, and grieve alone, but usually, we seek out those we feel love us, and narrate our ordeal with them in order for them to lift us up with their words. Unfortunately, most things we hear during our period of difficulty do little to lift us out of our predicament, and some even make us feel more miserable. At times, it’s better to just pet a person while they grieve or sob, without saying a word, or just keep repeating, “Take heart, take heart,” than to make some stupid statements. Here are four stupid things that people say to a grieving person that do little to lift them out of their grief:
- “Just forget it” or “It’s nothing”: This stupid statement is very common. A person has just been betrayed by a trusted friend, or has suffered public humiliation, and what comes to your mind is that it’s nothing. You tell them to just forget it. It may mean nothing to you because you’re not in their shoes, but it means something to THEM, and so you have to respect that. Human beings are wired to choose the easiest path in solving a problem. If it were that easy to forget it, or if it comes naturally, that would be our first line of action. They wouldn’t grieve in the first place. Often, I’ve heard a person tell another after a breakup from someone they love, “Just forget him and move on!” as if it were that easy. We can say this in a different way that would not make a grieving person feel as if you’re dismissive of their problem. Simply put-it’s stupid to ask a person in deep pain to just brush aside the pain and get going.
- “You’re a man”: So what? Who ever made the rule that a man is never meant to grieve? Who stereotyped men as robots without a heart? Immediately a man begins to show signs of sorrow or heartbreak, people begin to brandish this stupid statement. “You’re a man. You’re not meant to cry!” Says who, please? He had a wife, and she died suddenly, leaving him with a small child and a big hole in the heart. Let him grieve, please. He lost his job in a sudden retrenchment, and he is the head of the family. Why shouldn’t he grieve? He’s a man, and he’s got a heart. If this is all you’ve got to say, just continue to pat him on the back in silence instead. It’s a stupid statement not worth saying.
- “God brought it to pass”: God and Satan take the blame for a lot more than they are responsible for. When people misbehave, they blame Satan. When misfortune strikes, they blame God. “The Lord giveth, the Lord taketh,” they say, resignedly. Well, the correct statement is “The Lord giveth, Satan stealeth, killeth, and destroyeth.” God did not strike your child with a disease. The Bible says that no one should ever say when a misfortune comes, that God is behind his predicament, because God is incapable of doing evil (James 1:13). Rather, Satan is responsible for the stealing, killing, and destruction that abounds (John 10:10). Stop blaming God. He’s innocent. Encourage the grieving person to wage the battle against the devil and claim their victory. Does it make sense that God would make you lose your source of livelihood and be begging on the streets? What kind of loving Father would do that? God might take a smaller blessing from you in order to give you a bigger one, though.
- “You’re a Christian”: A Christian is someone who is like Jesus Christ. Which brings me to the question, “Did Jesus grieve when He was on earth?” “Did He weep?” Yes, He did. Jesus wept when Lazarus died (John 11:35). Jesus grieved when a group of people did not want Him to heal a man with a withered hand (Mark 3:5). The hypocrisy, stubbornness and wickedness of their hearts caused Jesus grief.
And when he had looked round about on them with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts, he saith unto the man, Stretch forth your hand. And he stretched it out: and his hand was restored as the other. (Mark 3:5-6)
Jesus was in severe agony when He prayed in Gethsemane (Luke 22:44). He cried out in frustration on the cross when He felt a separation between Him and God (Mark 15:34). Why do we think that Jesus was less human in emotions then we are? David is another example of a great man in the Bible that wept bitterly on some occasions. When his son Absalom died, he wept bitterly (2 Sam 18:33, 19:4). When his and his soldiers’ wives and children were kidnapped, he and his men wept until they had no more energy to weep (1 Sam 30:3-4). David and his men did not arrive to see his city burnt down and the women and children taken captives, and get up in anger and say, “What nonsense?! Let’s go after these people at once!” They first wept their eyes sore and their voices hoarse. In fact, they were only able to think clearly because they had no more energy to weep. If they had a little more energy to weep, they would definitely have wept some more. Being a Christian does not mean that your humanity is taken away. As a matter of fact, the Bible commands us to rejoice with those who rejoice, and grieve with those that grieve (Romans 12:15). These are simply examples from so many in the Bible. It’s stupid to rebuke a person for grieving simply on grounds that they are Christian.