Monday, 25 February 2013

Dealing with Grief and Depression

This year for the season of Lent our church is doing a teaching series that will reach out to people who are in a down time in their life and will also help us to know how to help people who are mourning a loss of some sort. So what I am about to write is a summary of what was taught in my home church this past Sunday, February 24, 2013. We learned about do's and don'ts when reaching out to a grieving person.

Psalm 23: 4  Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

What is meant by a valley? It is a depression that lasts an extended period of time. It takes on different shapes and forms. It is when something ceases to exist as we once knew it.

Matthew 5:4  Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
We all hurt sometimes. We all have seasons of pain. Where do we go when we mourn - when we have entered the "mourning booth"? We all must spend time in the "mourning booth".
 We need comfort during our stay in the "mourning booth". No one should need to be there alone.
Romans 12:15 Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.

Pastor Frank brought the message and here is some of what he said:
We are learning how to walk with people who are hurting. Pastor Frank asked the congregation to submit any questions about this topic and they will answer them in our March 24th service.
( *Note from me - if anyone reading this has a question - please leave it in the comment section here. )

How to walk with people who have experienced tragedy

Why should we be involved?
* Scripture commands it
*God is a God of love - as Christians we should be known for our love
* Christians love one another
* Love is an action and will motivate us to act in love that will benefit others
* People everywhere are hurting - in the church as well as outside the church

Excuses we give to not get involved -
* What could I say?
* It is going to be awkward
* I don't really know them that well.

Love is the opposite of selfishness
Love is an action - a sacrifice

The goal of our lives is to become more like Jesus

Do's and Don'ts
Pulling back for fear of not getting it right is not an option

* - Go there - when you hear that tragedy has struck leave what you are doing and go there especially in the case of a family member or a close friend.
* - Ask God to guide your response and to speak love through you
* -  Make that visit, phone call, send a card or offer child care

What do I say?
* - Less is often more - People who are dealing with tragedy do not need a lot of words
Words are okay, just say " I'm sorry"
* - Do not avoid or ignore people who are mourning - they will notice that you are avoiding them
* - Your presence shows you care
*  - Guys often do not talk much, just show up, give a hug if appropriate

What not to say
Avoid saying
* he's in a better place
* God won't give us more than we can handle
*  it was God's will
* don't use humor to try to make the situation lighter as it seems to dismiss the pain that the one who is mourning is feeling
* Only the one who is mourning can use the above phrases and/or use humor

Do not try to correct the one who is mourning-
* even if they are angry with God
* or have doubts
- Only acknowledge that you hear their pain and show you are understanding

Stifle your curiosity
Be careful to not be judgmental saying such things as:
* was she wearing a seatbelt?
* were they living together?

Written words 
A personal note is better than a card
Assure your thoughts and prayers are with them

Share Jesus and use words if you must.

Take your cue from the one who is hurting:
Match your words with the sorrow the one mourning is displaying
Remember - this is not about me - its about caring for the hurting one.

Grief and mourning is a process that takes time.
There is no limit to the time that will be required to heal from the grief
It is inappropriate to say "it's time to move on".

Sincere love will be noticed
Don't be afraid of messing up - your absence will be noticed more than your slip up .

Go do the right thing!!

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