What important qualities and knowledge are required in Christians helping the bereaved? How might growth of these qualities and this knowledge be encouraged among members of the church?

2621 words 11 pages
Essay Title: What important qualities and knowledge are required in Christians helping the bereaved? How might growth of these qualities and this knowledge be encouraged among members of the church?

Introduction

‘In this world nothing can be said to be certain except death and taxes. While many may try hard to minimise the latter, none of us can avoid the former. Death is one human experience that we can all anticipate with absolute certainty’ (Legood/Markham 1:2003).

Death and dying are inescapable aspects of the human experience, and at some point in everyone’s life it is inevitable that they will have to face the death of a loved one, but how each person deals with that situation is different. For some it may be a relief
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Listening: It is understandable to worry about what to say to a grieving person, often people try to avoid talking about death or the deceased, but the bereaved need to know that their loss is acknowledged, so listening to them is much more important than talking. Gravador writes, ‘Be a Good Listener. Listen, Listen, Listen. One of the most important things you can do is to make yourself available and truly listen’ (belief.net:2013). But also be willing to sit in silence if the grieving person does not feel like talking, eye contact, a squeeze of the hand, or a reassuring hug can be just as effective as words. Brian Williams says of the skill of listening, ‘Of all the virtues and practices we cultivate, this is the primary act of love that precedes and permeates everything else that happens’ (117:2005).

Practical: Practical help can also be useful, as it is difficult for many grieving people to ask for help. They often feel guilty about receiving so much attention, fear being a burden, or are too depressed to reach out. Initially their situation can be eased by offers of help, such as; making telephone calls to let people know about the death, preparing a meal even if it is left uneaten, contacting the church minister and funeral director, and help with organising flowers, cars and liturgy. Help with paperwork such as insurances, bank accounts, bills, etc., with school runs, DIY, and shopping, can all make the transition easier to

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