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7th February, 2016


10 Things You Should Not Say To A Grieving Person


When someone you care about is grieving, it is human nature to try to comfort them and help ease their pain. However, sometimes our good intentions can be more harmful than helpful, particularly the things we often say with the intention to make them feel better.

A large part of the problem is our own discomfort with grief and not knowing how to speak to someone who is grieving. Instinctively, we try to “fix” the hurt and make the pain go away. However, grief is a necessary process that cannot, and should not, be dusted under the rug so that the grieving person can feel good again.

As a therapist, I have many times worked with clients who have tried to treat feelings of loss and grief with a band-aid approach, only to find that their unresolved grief has manifested in other areas of their lives. If you want to support someone who is grieving, choose words that convey love and care, rather than offering advice and wisdom. Here are 10 things you should NOT say to a grieving person.


They are in a better place

Even if you know the person believes in a “better” place, the grief they are experiencing is not about where their loved one has gone to, but about the sense of loss that they will never share moments with their loved one again. On a mental level, there might be some solace knowing that their loved one is somewhere better, on an emotional level, hearing that can lead to feelings of anger and resentment that there is a better place other than right here, with people that love them.

What to say instead:

Acknowledge the loss by saying, “I am so sorry for your loss, [he/she] will be sorely missed.” Saying this conveys the message that you recognize that the grief is about the fact that the person is no longer around and that it is a difficult time for everyone.


I know how you feel

Even if you have experienced a similar loss, you DO NOT know how the person feels. There is an expression that goes “no two griefs are the same.” You might be able to relate the the grieving person’s pain, but remember that their time of grief is not about you, it is about them. If you truly have experienced a similar loss, you would know that during times of grief, your thoughts and actions are ruled by your emotions. Hearing someone say they “know how you feel” can sometimes lead to feelings of anger toward that person.

What to say instead:

Do not assume you know how they feel. Rather say, “You are in my thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.” This lets the person know that you recognize they are having a difficult time and that you are thinking about them even when you are not around.


It was God’s will

Regardless of your religious beliefs, and even if you know the person shares your faith, when you lose someone you love it is natural to experience feelings of anger and question God or whatever higher power you believe in. Reiterating the role the will of God has played in the person’s loss can fuel these feelings at a time when the grieving person most needs to hold onto their faith.

What to say instead:

If you know the person shares your belief in God, try to remind them that God loves and cares about them and God is aware of their pain. For example, “I pray that God will make it easy for you and your family during this difficult time”.


Everything happens for a reason

There can never be any reason good enough that will make the pain of loss any less. When you say this, you are expecting the grieving person to think about their loss logically, when in reality there is no logic in grief.

What to say instead:

Say something that affirms the questions a person who is grieving will often ask with something like, “It is so hard to know why we lose people when we do. I am so sorry for your loss.”


You can still have another child/remarry

This is probably the most distasteful things one can say, especially when someone is newly grieving. It implies that the person they have lost is easily replaceable.

What to say instead:

Honor the fact that the person lost can never be replaced. You could say, “I know how much you loved [name], [he/she] will forever remain in our hearts.”


You have to be strong

Do not dismiss the right the person has to grieve. Why do they need to be strong? For who? Being “strong” is not for the benefit of the grieving person, but for those around them. People often say this to people who have children, because the assumption is that it is not good for children to see their parents sad. On the contrary, children should not be socialized to deny or hide their emotions, but to embrace and process it. By seeing your parent express sadness, but deal with it in healthy ways such as talking to a friend, crying on someone’s shoulders, and talking to their kids about how they feel, this builds more resilient children.

What to say instead:

If you are concerned about the wellbeing of a child or children, rather ask, “How are the kids holding up?” Or, if you feel they need some relief from all the grief, how about offer to take the kids for a walk or to the park, or even just to spend some time with the kids at home while the grieving person takes time to grieve.


They wouldn’t want you to feel sad

It may not be your intention, but saying this is synonymous with guilt-tripping the person into not feeling sad. Of course nobody want to see their loved one feel sad, but that doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t. Grief and sadness is a necessary part of processing the loss, and saying that can make the person feel like they aren’t handling the loss “correctly.”

What to say instead:

Sometimes people need to hear that it is okay to feel sad. Say, “I can see you are really sad, just know that I am here for you.” This let’s the person know that you know that they are feeling sad and that it is okay.


At least they aren’t suffering now

This may be true, particularly when the person who died had been suffering from pain prior to passing, however the grieving person does not need to be reminded of this pain, nor do they want to believe that anything is better than having their loved one around. Saying this can also make the person feel guilty for wishing their loved one was still alive, as though they should be thankful for the loss.

What to say instead:

Rather focus on the positive attributes about the person’s life that the grieving person would want to remember by saying something like, “[name] showed so much strength,” or “I will always remember [name]’s [positive trait e.g. laugh].”


If you need anything, give me a call

This is probably the most common offer of help given to a grieving person, so it will surprise many to hear that it is one of the most unhelpful things you can say. When someone is overcome with grief, it can be difficult for them to plan ahead and think about what help they will need, and when they do realize they need help it can be very difficult for many people to actually pick up the phone and call you.

What to say instead:

If you are sincere in your offer of help, rather be specific in your offering. For example, if you know you are going to the grocery store, you could give the person a call and ask if they need any groceries that you can drop off. The influx of visitors who come to pay their respects can also place a huge burden on the grieving person, so offer to serve guests tea, or offer to bake a cake or cook a meal.


At least they lived a long life, some people die so young

It doesn’t matter how long the person lived, losing their presence in your life is still hard. Saying this implies the person lived long enough and that the grieving person should feel grateful that the person hadn’t died sooner.

What to say instead:

Share your favorite memory of the person they have lost instead, as this acknowledges the life the person lived without dismissing that the fact that the grieving person will not be able to make new memories and that this is a source of great sadness. For example, “I will always remember that time… [he/she] will be sorely missed.”

It is not always easy to thing of the right thing to say in the moment. If you are at a loss for words, there is no shame in admitting so. Tell the person, “I wish I knew the right words to say, just know that I am here for you”.

Giving someone who is grieving a firm, supportive hug can go a long way.




If you have an iPad, go to Apple Store, search for “Elim”, and download our Elim Centenary Book for free.


Make a search for “Elim Gospel Hall” on Facebook and you will see all our uploaded pictures of recent events.


Our Elim Youth has a blog (constantly updated) at:  www.ipohelimyouth.blogspot.com


Sports Ministry at Ipoh BUG: www.ipohbug.blogspot.com


Do visit these blogs.



1.               We wish all Chinese a Happy & Blessed Chinese New Year.

2.               Today’s Morning Worship: Open topic by Richard Chin.

3.               Next Sunday’s topic, speaker: Open topic by Chun Sam Tuck.

4.               Sunday School, Adult Class, Alpha , Butterfly class and EY are in recess.

5.               Prayer Meeting is on Wednesday at 8 pm. Please come & pray.

6.               No Night Worship, YWA this week , no Ladies Prayer & W2W this month.

7.               Fellowship of Companies for Christ International is organising a Market Leaders Forum “Success Through Righteousness” at Weil Hotel, Ipoh on Feb. 27-28, 2016. Cost: RM100. Please pick the registration form or see Wong Chee Ming.

8.               Elim Library: The Assembly Library is open after breakfast and before lunch-time every Sunday. All are welcome. Happy Reading.

9.               Breakfast duty next Sunday: Hor Sau Yee, Mr. & Mrs. Jerry Tan, Esther Chun and Ann Chan.


All visitors are welcome in our worship. Born again Christians are also invited to participate fully with us, including sharing in the breaking of bread and the cup. We encourage sisters to cover their heads. If you do not partake of the emblems in your home church, please refrain from taking the Bread and Cup. We would not like you to partake while ignorant of the biblical injunctions involved.


We love to meet you at our breakfast fellowship afterwards.



q    Pray for God's blessing on the talks "Success Through Righteousness" and for good turn-up at the event. Pray for Wong Chee Ming & team.

q    Pray for safety in travel for everyone during this festive period.

q    Pray for freshness, creativity and zeal in our work for the Lord. Pray for good, effective and wise leadership in our church - our oversight, our deacons, our department heads (ALM coordinators) and our heads of families. Pray for joy & dedication to permeate all our ministries..

q    Pray for the Lord to bless the work of GLO Malaysia and R B S.

q    Pray for Richard Chin and family. The leadership of Elim, Blacktown assembly and GLO Australia have agreed and proposed for a year's sabbatical for them. Pray for them to be led to the right sabbatical and for the Lord to enable us to support them.

q    Continue to uphold in prayer for healing for Joyce Lee and Eng Luan. Pray for the care-givers too..


31st January, 2016




The 5 Love Languages : The Secret to Love That Lasts

by Gary Chapman (Part 3 of 3)

Doing useful things for your partner is a common way to express love.

Does your partner often wish you would clean up after dinner, take out the trash or wash the car? If so, their primary love language might be acts of service. But how can you attend to this language?

The best way is to intentionally do helpful things for your partner. These acts of service are essentially things you know your partner would appreciate your handling – things like vacuuming or paying the bills, for example, or maybe grocery shopping, helping the kids with their schoolwork or taking the dog to the vet.

But just as you can’t demand love, you can’t demand acts of service from your partner. Nor can they from you. To be truly legitimate, such acts need to be voluntary. So, instead of asking what your partner can do for you, ask what you can do for your partner.

However, keep in mind that asking this question might require you to take a look at, and maybe even adjust your views on, traditional gender roles. For instance, running a home and caring for children is not necessarily a task for women; learning about acts of service requires you to decide for yourself what your responsibilities are, regardless of stereotypes.

Just consider Mark, who was raised in a family with a father who never lifted a finger to do household chores. His dad saw such tasks as women’s work and couldn’t imagine himself cleaning the floors or changing diapers. Mark, on the other hand, saw how important it was to his wife Mary that he lend a hand around the house, so he let his gendered stereotypes go.

This allowed him to overcome his stereotypical understanding of his own behavior and communicated to his wife a great deal of love and respect.

Physical touch is a powerful way to show your love.

Did you know that babies who are caressed, held and kissed go on to lead healthier emotional lives than those who aren’t? It’s true, and it should come as no surprise that physical touch is some people’s primary love language.

If it’s your partner’s main language you can communicate your love through physical touch – things like holding hands, kissing, embracing and sexual intercourse. It’s easy to incorporate such gestures into everyday life by holding your partner’s hand when in church or on your way to the movies. You can also try hugging and kissing your partner when someone else is around; it’s sure to make them feel extra appreciated.

For instance, Jocelyn Green is married to a military man. Although she and her partner often can’t be together physically, she’s found ways to feel connected to him while he’s overseas. If you and your partner also spend a lot of time away from one another, try to find a way to feel close. Things like wearing one of your partner’s old shirts while skyping, or sending them a picture, can work wonders.

But when you are with your partner, you can try touching him or her in unexplored places and asking for feedback about what’s pleasurable. Just remember, your partner is the only one who can say what feels good to them. In fact, it’s key for both people in a relationship to take the time to learn how to touch and please each other. If you’re looking for creative ways to do so you might find it helpful to study massage or read up on sexual techniques.

It’s also essential to work hard at understanding which subtler forms of physical contact can fill your partner’s love tank. Vary the pressure of touch. Experiment! And of course, when it comes to touch, what’s appropriate and inappropriate can only be determined by you and your partner. That being said, physical abuse is always inappropriate and should be reported immediately.

Pinpoint your primary love language.

All right, now you know the five love languages, but how can you tell which one is your primary one? It’s actually pretty easy to find out:

First, ask yourself what you most often request of your partner. It’s likely that the things you ask for the most are the things that you find most emotionally fulfilling. Then follow your instincts and consider what comes to mind when you want to feel truly appreciated. Perhaps it’s spending time with someone or receiving praise.

Once you know what feels good, consider what your partner does that hurts you. In fact, painful relationship experiences can be an accurate guide to finding your love language. Just think back on what your partners have failed to do for you in the past.

For instance, if someone you were close to caused you serious pain or failed to show you love in the way you wanted, perhaps that person simply failed to understand the way you desired to be loved. If all such instances fall in the same category, there’s a good chance that that category is your primary love language.

But your upbringing also has a major effect on the development of your love language. So it’s helpful to consider how your parents made you feel loved (or unloved) while you were growing up. Such memories are another path to figuring out which language you speak.

For example, Ella’s main love language is receiving gifts, but to figure that out she had to think about bad experiences from her childhood. Specifically, she recalled a Christmas morning when she was a little girl:

Her older brother put little effort into choosing her present and, to save time, gave her something he’d found lying around the house. By recalling this moment and remembering the emotional pain it had caused her, Ella saw how important receiving gifts was (and is!) to her.

And remember: once you pinpoint your and your partner’s love languages, be sure to use that knowledge. After all, communication is what true love is all about.

Final summary

The key message in this book:

Many of the problems married couples face today are simply a result of feeling and expressing love in different ways. Learning the different love languages will improve communication in your relationship, thus boosting the emotional well-being of both you and your partner.

Actionable advice:

Help your partner through hard times with the greatest gift of all.

What’s the best present you could give your partner? To give you a hint, it’s not diamonds, flowers or a new car. It’s the gift of self – which simply means standing by your partner, especially during rough periods. So, simply being there during those difficult times – like pregnancy or a career upheaval – is absolutely key. You’ll be surprised what an impact you can make by committing to being present when the going gets tough.

Suggested further reading: 30 Lessons for Loving by Karl Pillemer

30 Lessons for Loving (2015) shares advice from hundreds of elderly people to reveal the secrets of building a long-lasting relationship, from first encounter to “happily ever after.” You’ll learn how to tell if your current crush might be “the one,” how to communicate in a healthy way and how to keep the passion alive in a long-term relationship.


Undergirded by God’s grace