It is always difficult to know what to say at a funeral or to people in pain. Usually, unless we have experienced great pain, suffering, or loss in our own life, we stick our foot in our mouth and say the wrong thing. Sometimes, in painful situations, it is better to not say anything at all, then to try to comfort those who are grieving only to offend or hurt them further.
Not to make light of a painful situation, but too often, we are like this guy:
We want to say the right thing, but since we never know what to say at a funeral, we end up saying something stupid or offensive.
So although it is difficult to know what to say to someone who is grieving or suffering, here are fifteen things NOT to say at a funeral (or to others in pain). These statements are little more than Christian cliches, and aside from not helping anybody, they do not accurately represent God or Scripture.
- Don’t take it so hard.
- God is still on the throne.
- Try to hold back your tears; they make people uncomfortable.
- Remember to give thanks in all things.
- It’s probably for the best.
- God knows what He is doing.
- It could have been worse.
- She (he) is better off now.
- Don’t question God.
- God must really love you to have selected you for this burden.
- Your child (spouse, parent, etc) will be raised again.
- I know what you are experiencing; my dog died last month.
- God is refining you. There must be some sin He is rooting out of your life.
- God is preparing you for something better.
- God is preparing you for something worse.
I always like to remember Job’s friends. It is only after they opened their mouths that they became miserable comforters (Job 16:2).
Do you have questions about any of these fifteen or have one to add? Include it in the comments below.