Death is never easy thing to deal with. It reminds us of our own finite nature. We like to believe we will forever. We behave as if that is the case. Death reminds us that our time here is limited. It’s an unpleasant truth.
Even when the person who died was a Christian and we know they are in a better place it’s still painful. We don’t like death. Dealing with it is hard. How do you know what to say? Do you tell them it will be ok? Do you try to cheer them up? do you tell them their loved one is in a better place? Especially when you don’t personally know the deceased speaking about their position with God is no light task.
What we say during these grieving times are important. The first thing I want to say: people are going to ask “why did this happen?” “Why did God take my _____ away?” This is not the time for a theological discussion about death and the afterlife. What the grieving person needs is not theology. They need love and comfort. So don’t start discussing with them the problem of evil and the reason for death while they are grieving. Even if they ask. Just grieve with them, love them, and support them.
The second thing I want to say: let’s take a page from Thumper’s mom and give it a little twist. If you can’t say something theologically sound, don’t say nothing at all. Too often well intentioned Christians attempting to comfort someone say things that are just whack. We turn to a grieving spouse/child/friend and tell them that their loved one is gone because “God wanted another angel.” There is so much wrong with that theologically I don’t even know where to begin.
Let’s just deal with one part of it, otherwise this will become a novella. Our soul is not an angel trapped in a physical prison waiting for us to die so it can be released. Angels are not disembodied people. Beloved Aunt Judy isn’t watching over you at night while you sleep. Angels are angels. People are people. One doesn’t become the other. Take that mormons. :-p
An angel is a servant in the house of God. Christians are children adopted into the house of God. For a person to become an angel would be a serious demotion. When people die they don’t become angels. So stop saying they do. It’s ridiculous.
When they die they face judgment. Not for how they lived their lives. They face judgment for what they did with Jesus. For those who surrendered their lives to Him they are ushered into the presence of God. They will receive a new body and will be a part of the kingdom of God. For those who rejected Jesus they will not be accepted into His kingdom. They will not have life with Him.
No road leads to people becoming angels. Sorry folks. Angels might be in the outfield, but they are not the disembodied spirits of our loved ones.
It’s a good thing to want to comfort someone. Lies and mystic hokus pokus that has no basis for belief doesn’t offer real comfort. It’s like giving a candy cane to someone who is suffering from malnutrition. It might seem nice but it really doesn’t help.
Speak the truth in love. If the truth is no real comfort just love them and keep your mouth shut. You win most battles just by being there when the person needs you. Don’t feel pressured into saying something false just to fill the silence.