Many people are familiar with the Kubler-Ross approach to grief and suffering. It is described originally as a five-stage process that those facing death and dying go through and later amended to include those experiencing any kind of major loss including loss of a job, a divorce, loss of freedom, drug addiction and so on.
After my Mom passed away I was contacted several times by the Grief Counselor from the hospice organization we used and they assured me that everything I was feeling was normal and a part of “The Grieving Process.” I became very well acquainted with “The Grieving Process” over this past year as I have experienced many losses. In fact, I took a little quiz about stress and loss and my score was 510! The website suggested I contact a support group…
I have not found the Kubler-Ross stages to be particularly helpful through this process from the realization Mom was dying to this day. None of those stages are biblical, and some of them are normal and simply human. I am also not sure a support group would be beneficial to going through grief. Groups can be helpful in some cases, when the focus is on the resources we have in Christ and not on replaying the tragedies in our lives over and over. I also think that support groups tend to foster the idea that no one else can understand my pain except those who are in my situation. Based on 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 that is not true.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 (NASB)
The Hebrew Old Testament uses more than 20 words for grief and grieve and we find examples in the narratives of the Old Testament in the stories of Job, Hagar (Gen 21:17-20), Hannah (1 Samuel 1), David (2 Sam. 18:9-33) and in the New Testament in the response of Jesus to the death of Lazarus (John 11).
To say that Christians ought not grieve is a ridiculous statement, yet I have been told it is said to those looking for help after experiencing loss of some kind. That is cruel and amounts to telling them to “get over it.” Christ has come to comfort those who mourn.
We will continue to examine this topic next time.
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