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Four Things You Shouldn’t Say to Someone Who’s Grieving

Sophia Louise

Brian Brown - published on 05/15/14

4) God is schooling you.

Of course God can be teaching you something through pain—trying to get your attention. But as Anne Snyder observed last week, it’s often a great deal more complicated than that. The authors agree:

In the Scripture, we see how suffering doesn’t simply land on the guilty, pain also falls on the innocent. The sacrificial lamb each year proves that the innocent suffer, again and again, for the sins of the guilty. As Adam and Eve’s offspring pain follows each of us. Pain is not consistently a result of God’s displeasure.

Instead, Jonalyn and Aubrie offer an approach that is more Eliot-ish—it involves, in a way, incorporating the grief into who you are. In the real world, a fallen world, life is sometimes awful—and there is no clear reason for it. It’s very American to try to ignore it, to try to put it in an easy box, to try to push past it, or to try to explain it. But against all this, the authors suggest that experiencing grief, if we as communities take the trouble to re-learn how to do it, is not only bearable—it is a crucial and, in a way, beautiful part of what makes us human.

Brian Brown is a social fundraising consultant and cultural critic based in Colorado. He is the senior editor of Humane Pursuits. You can follow him on Twitter @BrianBrownSF.

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