Counseling

Ministering to Those Who Mourn, Part 2

by James Saxman

Republished from Baptist Bulletin April/May 2017 with permission. © Regular Baptist Press, all rights reserved. Read part 1.

Tasks for Mourners

J. William Worden, Harvard professor, identifies four tasks for mourners in his book Grief Counseling and Grief Therapy. Gently helping a mourner to recognize these tasks is beneficial to the mourner’s good health in the days that follow loss.

1. Accept the reality of the loss. It sounds ridiculously obvious, but facing the stark fact that the loved one has died is necessary for the mourner to move on from denial. To experience irreversibility is a shock. Children know that Daddy and Mommy fix everything. When our childish imaginations are confronted with reality, we must change what we are accustomed to. Like it or not, we must begin the awful task of accepting the finality of death.

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Ministering to Those Who Mourn, Part 1

Republished from Baptist Bulletin March/April 2017 with permission. © Regular Baptist Press, all rights reserved.

by James Saxman

Lonely is the home without you,
Life to us is not the same,
All the world would be like heaven,
If we could have you back again. – Anonymous

And she said unto them, “Do not call me Naomi [pleasant]; call me Mara [bitter], for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me” (Ruth 1:20).

Grief/Mourning

The Bible has a great deal to say regarding the topics of grief and mourning. About 20 Hebrew words translated into our English Bibles are some form of the word grieve. Though the occurrences in the New Testament are less frequent than in the Old, Christians are certainly not excluded from grief. They cannot but feel sorrow and be moved by grief. In both the Old and New Testaments, God Himself is said to be susceptible to grief (Isa. 63:10 Heb. 4:15). In the Garden of Gethsemane, the “Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief” (Isa. 53:3) told His disciples that His soul was deeply grieved, to the point of death (Matt. 26:38).

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Points of Failure - Another Look at the BJU GRACE Report

A bad idea is one thing. Flawed execution of a good idea is something else. Thomas Edison is said to have botched the execution of the light-bulb concept about a thousand times before he got it right. Today, we’ve decided that the incandescent light bulb is not such a great idea anymore. But does anyone think that the general concept of converting electrical energy into light is a bad idea?

With changing times and advances in learning and understanding, we’re in constant danger of thinking that all old ideas are bad ideas—and in even greater danger of seeing any flawed execution of an old idea as a failure of the old idea itself. In our hurry to embrace “progress” we often don’t pause and look more carefully at where failure is truly located, and as a result, our piles of obsolete notions include increasing amounts of the wisdom of the ages.

Lately, at least in the West, we’re especially prone to do this with the social sciences. This week’s (or this decade’s) scientific consensus trumps all. And if you’re out of step with it—well, the fact that you’re wrong is self-evident. Because we just don’t do things that way anymore. We know better … until we change our minds again.

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An Evaluation of the BJU GRACE Report

“Have you ever told your father that you love him?”

When the gray-haired, glasses-wearing lady sitting across the table from me in the Bob Jones University (BJU) Dining Common spoke these words to me after I had asked her to pray for my dad’s salvation, I felt like jumping across the table and choking her! How dare she expect me to speak such words to the man who had neglected me and treated my mother with such contempt!

At that moment, God convicted me. I still harbored negative feelings toward my father. I thought, “How can I ask people to pray that God would save a man that I don’t care for myself?”

As a seminary student at BJU, I received assurance of my salvation. God’s Spirit showed me that a right standing with God does not come through my own merits and actions, but it is founded solely upon the sacrifice and the righteousness of Christ. As I began to understand the unmerited love and forgiveness that God offers me in Christ, I knew that I needed to love and forgive my father in the same way.

Thankfully, by God’s grace and the help of BJU, I was able to forgive my father and cast off my negative feelings towards him. I know that forgiving my dad back then has enabled me to serve God and enjoy a healthy life today.

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