‘Comfort’ Meditations No.17: Comfort in Mourning
Mt 5:4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.”
We touched on this back in Study No.9 in terms of practical realities, but it is also true in spiritual ways. We have been through nearly two years where death has been forced into our consciousness as a result of the Pandemic, and yet I am told that Pandemic deaths comprise roughly only 16% of deaths every year. Dying is what we human beings all will do one day, (Heb 9:27) and yet we have shied away from it despite Solomon’s counsel (Eccles 7). Mourning is a very personal thing that we each do in a different way, but one thing Jesus was clear about was that mourners are on God’s heart and He will comfort those who turn to Him in their mourning.
So yes, mourning over the loss of loved ones who have died is a very real part of ongoing life, but can I pick up on one comment from that earlier study – grieving for loved ones who committed suicide. There have been parts of the church who have considered such an act as a major sin. I don’t believe it is, for the following reasons.
First, as a people we make life and death judgment calls all the time, from deciding not to execute murderers because we cannot trust our judicial system that might make mistakes, to turning off life-support machines, maybe to having an abortion, and quite likely to using birth control methods. Oh yes, once we have decided to use birth control, we are controlling life or even preventing it, by whatever means.
We all make these judgment calls and set our boundaries, so I might say I believe that abortion is wrong in most cases yet find birth control acceptable. If we are happy for the police to kill terrorists on the street, we are making a judgement call. If we are happy to permit very controlled euthanasia, we are making a judgment call. We may not feel very comfortable with some of these things, but they are true. IF we have got it wrong, we must trust in the Cross for forgiveness.
Now, as we go to confront suicide, we need to first of all consider the bigger issue of whether a person is saved or not which decrees where we believe our loved one will end up. That is the big issue. But supposing we believed our loved one who took their own life was a Christian, we will almost certainly be plagued by the question, “Why???” and there is no easy answer. The glib responder will say they weren’t feeling loved, which may be true but is almost certainly not the whole answer.
Any answer I offer is likely to fall short, but I would suggest – I am addressing parents primarily – it must require us to consider the quality of genuine spiritual life we experience as a family – and this must start when our children are small, a God-conscious family, an open-hearted sharing family – and it’s never too late to start aiming for that.