Can We Grieve Over the Death of a Christian?
The wife of a preacher friend of mine in the Portland are died recently, and grief fills his heart, but some have rebuked him, saying that he should be rejoicing because his wife is in heaven.
I have heard well-meaning Christians say that at other times, such as at the funeral of a Christian, when the critic saw the family and friends left behind weep.
Is that correct? Should we not weep at the death of a Christian? Are we violating Scripture?
What is the shortest verse in the Bible? John 11.35, “Jesus wept.” Why did He weep? A friend of His had died, and when He saw the grieving family, He did not rebuke them, but He wept with them. Who wants to rebuke the Son of God for weeping at the death of a righteous man?
Why does the Bible say, “Weep with those who weep”? (Rom 12.15). The Bible does not say to rebuke them, but to weep with them.
When the Jews killed Stephen, Luke wrote, “And devout men carried Stephen to his burial, and made great lamentation over him” (Acts 8.2).
Luke also shows us the widows who wept over the death of Dorcas (Acts 9.39), and he did not in anyway show that they did something wrong, nor did Peter correct the widows when he arrived (Acts 9.40).
At the beginning of his teaching on the great resurrection, Paul said, “But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope” (1Th 4.13). Did Paul mean they could not sorrow? No, just not to sorrow as though they would never see that beloved Christian again.
Does all this mean we have to cry when a Christian dies? No, that is not the point, only that if we cry, we are doing nothing wrong, and if we rejoice, we are doing nothing wrong.
We respond to the deaths of various people differently, and that is natural, and that is what the Lord wants us to do. DR