Yesterday we received tragic news regarding people in our fellowship, news we’re not ready to make public, but of which people are becoming aware. It’s asking a lot of you to ask you to curb your curiosity while stirring your concern, but that’s what we’re asking.
Biblical Response to Tragedy
In the meantime, we’d like to offer you this biblical approach to responding to tragedy.
1. Mourn. It’s a verb, something that you do, and not just a matter of feeling sad. Matthew 5:4, Ecclesiastes 7:2
2. Leave everything private that can safely remain that way. 1 Thessalonians 4:11
3. Say everything that you need to say and nothing that you don’t.
It is a great temptation in the face of tragedy to respond verbally, and some things need to be said. But even the best words do less good than ill-considered words do harm. James 1:19
4. Don’t look for or accept short cuts and easy answers. Nothing good comes of trying to make short what God left long, or easy what God has permitted to be hard. The valley of the shadow of death is, indeed, long and difficult to traverse, but we have a good traveling companion. Psalm 23
5. Your grief can rot into injury or ripen into resolve. Carefully manage your grief, exposing it to the light of the Lord, to see it mature into a greater resolve to bring about the Kingdom of God, the place where the “shalom,” the peaceful, right-ordering of things prevails under God’s lordship.
6. Pray to God and for God. No grief touches us but that it grieves him also. He does not need us and he does not suffer from lack of our prayer. But he loves us and when we pray about a tragedy we have the opportunity to acknowledge the way in which sin and its direct and indirect effects have touched his Father’s heart. This is the spirit in which many of the Psalms might be prayed.
7. Let grace prevail. Look for opportunities to extend and receive grace. The impulse to publicly demonstrate your concern can run contrary to the interests of grace.
If, as you become aware of more details, you need help processing this event please contact us in the office and let us walk through it with you. (Email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 483.2531)
Written by Joel Tate
Furnace Brook Wesleyan Church Blog