Loss is an inseparable part of the human experience. As Christians, we know that our lives on earth are as vapor (James 4:14). Yet, all of us expect a life of endless tomorrows and when a loved one dies, we experience a loss so shockingly profound and wounding that it can be hard to imagine anything else. We have all experienced grief and we recognize it in others. Yet, it can be hard to comfort somebody else, simply because grief takes so many confounding shapes, forms, and manifestations. As followers of Christ, we can always turn to Scripture to help us be a comfort to those dealing with loss. Here are some things to consider, when you want to comfort someone in grief.

Use words sparingly

Scripture tells us that words have the power to heal and transform (Proverbs 16:24). But remember that when a loss is very great, it’s often best to say less. Speaking too much can lead to the grieving person feeling worse (Psalm 52:4). If you can, speak from a position of empathy rather than sympathy. If you haven’t experienced the same kind of loss, simply say “I’m sorry for your loss.”

Use non-verbal ways to show your support

God recognizes acts of service and so will your neighbor. If you aren’t able to comfort your loved one with words, bring them something you’ve cooked, offer to run errands, or do chores around their house. You can even make them a card or buy them flowers. These small acts of service can be a great comfort.

Pray with them and for them

Jesus is no stranger to grief. He lived as a human being for 33 years and he was intimately acquainted with loss. Call on Him when you pray. Ask him to comfort those in grief and despair. As you pray, remember the story of Job who suffered under the weight of grief for many years. Grief was not the end of his story. He passed from it, into faith and hope. So will you and everyone you love who is grieving right now.