Most people would recognize those two words as Charlie Brown’s favorite exclamation!
But that’s not what this post is about—far from it!
As the prophet Isaiah stated:
Come now, and let us reason together…. (Isa 1:18)
Can there ever be “good grief”? Is it really something that people who have lost loved ones need to pass through or, as psychiatry purports, has “5 stages” that are not only necessary but healthy?
How can such an overwhelming emotion that engulfs so many people during such a significant feeling of loss be a necessity or be healthy and good?
Yet, so many folks, including many Christian Scientists, unwittingly add to this negative emotional and all-consuming state of grief which a family member or friend may be undergoing, by expressing sympathy, fear, and shock. In an attempt to respond at such times, they may offer old adages such as “Time will heal all.” Or perhaps prophesy the length of time it will take their friend to adjust—or perhaps never adjust—to this new experience. They might offer the myth that grief is natural and to be expected. Or worse, express fear and concern for the person’s God-given ability to move forward in their life.
Outwardly they do these things in an attempt to be compassionate.
But is it really compassion, or is it actually something else? Is it a form of unintentional mental malpractice against that individual—and ultimately against those expressing it?
You might ask how that could possibly be. I understand the confusion. We think that if we’re reaching out to the person, how could it be bad? We’re trying to be loving…
But are we looking at this from a Christianly-scientific view? Are we looking at it from the perspective of healing and of being a healer?
From that vantage point, grief and human sympathy take on a very dark hue—one that is clearly not what it appears to be on the surface. They are mortal mental mechanisms that try to attach themselves to the person they’re directed at, while simultaneously falsely convincing the person expressing them that they are being loving. And in so doing, it weighs down the thought of both people with an erroneous belief in the supposed reality of mortality. It reinforces it and works against both parties’ health and well-being.
Because the belief of grief and human sympathy is opposed to the very demonstrations of Jesus Christ and Mary Baker Eddy—is opposed to eternal Life as an ever-present reality. Remember, dear friends, that Jesus cast out all the mourners who were bewailing the death of Jairus’s daughter (Luke 8:49-56)—cast them out of consciousness so that he could raise her from the belief of death and demonstrate eternal Life.
Mrs. Eddy wrote:
Neither sympathy nor society should ever tempt us to cherish error in any form, and certainly we should not be error’s advocate. (Science and Health, p. 153)
By expressing grief and human sympathy we are in effect aligning our thinking and actions to fear and the utterly false belief that we, or anyone, could ever be separated from God—from Truth, Life, and Love which “…are a law of annihilation to everything unlike themselves, because they declare nothing except God.” (Science and Health, p. 243)
So rather than throwing our mental weight on the side of mortality—no matter how attractive, loving, and kind it seems to be—shouldn’t we be seeking instead to uplift thought by understanding the truth of being—by expressing real compassion via the true Comforter to our friends and family?
By loving them divinely? By healing them?
As Science and Health states (p. 246):
Life is eternal. We should find this out, and begin the demonstration thereof.
“Good grief!” 🙂 Thank you, Ken. Very thought-provoking. You bring up very valid points. I, too, have given this subject much prayer-led thought and have learned to take care not to “outline;” but instead, to become increasingly spiritually prepared to reflect Love. Eternal Life is a hard concept to understand and to accept, especially when a loved one has recently passed away. It’s a hard time sometimes to “let go and let God.” Many questions arise – mostly beginning with “Why?” Each situation is an opportunity to learn more about God/Love-itself! and we in that image and likeness. So, I’ve learned to just ask God, “What is the most loving thing I can do?” Then I listen and follow through.
Under the marginal heading, “Genuine healing,” Mrs. Eddy wrote, “If we would open their prison doors … we must first learn to bind up the broken-hearted. If we would heal by the Spirit, we must not hide the talent of spiritual healing under the napkin of its form, nor bury the morale of Christian Science in the grave-clothes of its letter. The tender word and Christian encouragement … pitiful patience with … fears and the removal of them, are better than hecatombs of gushing theories, stereotyped borrowed
speeches, and the doling of arguments, which are but so many parodies on legitimate Christian Science, aflame with divine Love” (S&H 366:30).
Thanks again, Ken. I really appreciate this article, which has so inspired me!
Thanks, Nela! And thanks for your thoughts and Mrs. Eddy’s statement from S&H! 🙂
Thanks for your clear thinking on this topic. Much needed.
You’re welcome, Bertina. I’m glad you found it helpful! 🙂