Violence and Grief

There was a shooting at a school. Three students have died and others are injured. So there are new sets of grieving parents. Just like you they “got a call...” Grief over the death of your child is immense whether they died after a long illness or in an instant. How old they were also makes some differences - pre-born, a couple years old, 16 or 56. The death of this precious person is an overwhelming loss. There are a few little differences in the path of grief related to these variables.

Likewise, for a death by violence, there are additional issues to add to normal grief. A violent death came by the deliberate choices someone made. This death was caused by human action. There can be overwhelming anger; there is so much more need for forgiveness. There are questions regarding how was it for the child before they died: did they know it was coming, were they scared, had they been hurt or tortured? Did they cry out for mom or dad or Jesus?

For all bereaved parents, there is Jesus. For those whose child died by violence there is the parallel that Jesus also died by violent choices made by men. Jesus was mocked, tortured, spat upon by His enemies, abandoned by His friends before being crucified – with nails through hands and feet, and left to die in public display of horror. I have one friend whose son was a police officer. He sees a parallel: his son and God’s Son, Jesus, were both peace officers killed in the line of duty. This father derives comfort from this parallel.

We can see that whatever the circumstances of your child’s death, Jesus has been through similar difficulties. His experience parallels your child’s experience. He died by violence. He knew He was approaching His own death for months ahead of time, similar to having a long life-threatening illness. He was having dinner with friends – then soldiers came and arrested Him. They had no opportunity to meet again, to say good-bye or you’ve meant so much to me. That’s similar to a sudden death.

His experience also serves you as a survivor. Jesus is the Comforter, who can comfort us in all our trials from the comfort He also has received from His Heavenly Father. Jesus is the one who has experienced everything, like us, so we can come boldly to Him with our sorrows and struggles. He knows the hurting heart. He has been wherever we are, yet without sin, and He has overcome all those struggles. He has won the battle of all battles – over Death, by His Resurrection. (Comments are based on the following scripture references: Matthew 27:27-31; Matthew 26:56; John 20:25-28; Luke 9:44, 51; Luke 22:15, 47-54; I Corinthians 1:4; Hebrews 4:15-16; I Corinthians 15:54-56)

“Death has been swallowed up in victory.” … He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. I Corinthians 15:54,57