Monday, September 26, 2011

How Do I encourage a Grieving Unbeliever?

I received the following question from Kristi Graydon. Kristi attends Cedarville University in Cedarville, OH. Kristi is studying "Comprehensive Bible" at this well-known Christian university. Kristi asks:

Hey Tony! There have been several of my classmates here at Cedarville University with friends back home who are not believers and have had deaths in the family, and that got me thinking: if I were in their situation what I would say to my friend whose unbelieving parent passed away?

I'm curious as to what you would say or how you would handle that kind of situation. I know that I'd want to show compassion, listen to my friend, and do my best to be there for them; but at the same time, I wouldn't want to miss out on an opportunity to share the truth of the Gospel with them.

I'm so unsure how to handle a situation like this because I don't particularly want to ever just say that their loved one is justly in Hell, because that isn't going to be comforting or a way to really reach that person. Maybe my thinking needs adjusted. But anyway, I'm just curious how you'd handle a situation such as this.

Thank you!
Great question, Kristi. It's one I've been asked many times and one we've addressed on the show. But it's worth talking about, again.

As a deputy sheriff and chaplain (now retired) for the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, I faced the situation you address in your question many times. Regardless of how many times I dealt with people in the midst of tragedy and grief, it never got easier. But, there is most certainly a way to present the law and the gospel to unbelievers who are grieving.

I hope the following video is an encouragement to you and your classmates. And for further study:

Job 1:1-2:10; Psalm 139:13-16; Luke 13:1-5; Romans 8:28-29