I’ll get around to posting a more Biblically-based response sometime this weekend looking at some specific examples of mourning in Scripture.
But rather than leave it unremarked, I thought it more appropriate to address some things which I found untrue in the article.
In the article Wommack teaches that we humans feel a sense of loss or grief because we enjoyed how that thing which is now lost made us feel. We loved–not the thing–but the way the thing made us feel.
He notices greed to be one of the many foul fruits of such self-centredness and that much striving and unhappiness is wrought from this greed, from the failure of the desirable things to appear.
He argues that when the individual focuses on themselves and not on God they will open them selves to those grief-feelings, as they pursue their own goals and desires. If it is true that God would provide for the needs of his children (Matthew 6:33), to feel grief or unhappiness over deprivation of things is a demonstration that the individual is not trusting God.
I can agree with him this far, but he loses me in his discussion of grief over death:
Even in the case of the death of a loved one, our grief is rooted in our personal loss. We focus on the situation from our point of view: How can I go on without them? I won’t ever see them again on earth. We convince ourselves that we are mourning over the death of these people, but it’s really over how it will affect us. If that person was born again and is now with Jesus, it should be a time to rejoice. Let’s imagine the atmosphere of a believer’s funeral if we focused on the one who was with Jesus and what that person was experiencing rather than our own self-centered thoughts about what we are losing? Instead of grieving, what an exciting time of thanksgiving and praise it would be!
Some readers will notice bile rising in their throats after reading that. Others will remember with cold disgust that such sentiments were directed to them in a time of loss.
I do not intend to discuss the insensitivity of these words. I do have a problem with blaming the grieving person for their grief.
It is sick, it is deplorable to tell someone experiencing a massive shift in the very fabric of their life that they themselves are responsible. This is untrue. Death’s cold hand takes a man or a woman and all around are touched by the icy appendage.
God made human beings and he breathed his Spirit into them, granting them life. It was as though a part of God was given to humans to allow them to have movement and breath and joy and to do all the things their hearts would desire to do. Yet God decided that such a relationship with human beings wasn’t best for them.
God created other human beings like the first to create a family, a clan, a community (Genesis 2:18).
To be with another person then becomes how human beings flourish. If God designed humans for communion with one another, loss of that communion offends that design down to its core.
Death, the great divide which separates people from one another, is cruel because it destroys human life as it is meant to be lived. Each death we endure further ruptures the wonderful design and it changes us. For a while the wound is fresh and it is difficult to function. Yet later still it scars over and the rest of our days are spent in a life which is unlike the one we lived before.
And it is right that we should mourn over this.
Death of a loved one DOES affect us, and it is right that our hearts should grieve it.
The Spirit was given in love that humans could have life, and that Spirit is shared between human beings in their love for each other. It’s as though the being of God is communicated between people in their life together. This Spirit gives people life and our lives are sustained by the endless breathing in and out of that same Spirit.
Death is the end of that particular expression of God’s unique image in our lives. It’s as though we lose something essential, or even essentially of God, when the one we love ceases to have a share in the things of this earth.
So when a Christian sings of the love he had for his friend and cries to God, asking ‘why?’, I hear it echoing through the ages like so many before who have stood on the edge and screamed into the yawning crevasse which threatens to eat up all that we might find beautiful about this place.
And you know what? It is right to cry aloud.
Because things are not as they ought to be. Like a woman who shambles along the roadside with an aching back, whimpering her condition, the pain felt in grief is the only right response to the crippling devastation witnessed the world over.
And he said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to him, “Lord, come and see.” Jesus wept. So the Jews said, “See how he loved him!”