Celebrate people while they live. Mourn them when they pass away.
(HT: Jesus and his Apostles)
"Jesus wept." He did that for a dude that was his friend who was only dead for a couple of days. He knew he was going to raise that friend from death. Why did he mourn? He mourned because he is human. If he hadn't mourned, he'd a be a clockwork machine or a monster, not a human. He mourned because his friend had faced the last enemy, death. He mourned because, by raising him, he was ensuring that he'd have to face that enemy a second time in life. Bad enough to face death once, but twice? Yeesh.
Losing a loved one is hard. Anyone who suggests you shouldn't deal with that grief through sadness is either a clockwork machine or a monster. You must not listen to such ungodly, wicked, heartless foolishness. Work through your pain. Your loved one went through trauma and you are going through trauma too. Death is brutal. Mourn the departed. Death is the great, last enemy. We all must face him. Your loved one lost the battle to that enemy. You, however, are still here and still have that battle ahead. Take some time to cope with that reality too. That too is a sobering issue to deal with as part of your pain.
If that loved one had Jesus Christ as their savior, you can be happy that now their hope has been made real. They lost the battle with death, but they won the war by entering into the sweet rest and eternal reward with the Son of God. They no longer live in the world of shadows, but in the glorious light of our Creator. You can be happy for them for that and, if you too have Jesus as your savior, you may also look forward to that gain and a most joyful reunion. This is a comfort in a time of pain, but surely not such a joy that it overshadows the mourning to cause a break out of celebration, though.
I can partly agree with the sentiment, "Don't grieve me when I'm gone, for I will be with Jesus." But mostly, I find that response to be selfish. Yeah, it's a gain for you, but the rest of us are still back here. We miss you. Our hope has not turned to sight as it has for you. We still have to run our race and fight the good fight. Don't trivialize the life of those who survive you by saying such trite things. I would instead prefer to say, "Be glad for me," or "I'll be waiting for you and be ready to greet you with holy hugs and kisses." Give them comfort and something to look forward to themselves. Don't prohibit someone from grieving, not even if you don't mean it literally.
Weep for your dead. Enjoy your living. Be a comfort to all. Be glad for your loved ones who fought the good fight to the end and have earned their rest, but be sober. Amen.
Copyright © 2016 Sterling Hanenkamp.