Dear Rabbi Daniel and Susan Lapin,
My church has been under grief for over a year, due to a lady in the church losing her baby girl just before she was born.The woman had to give birth to the baby even though the baby was going to be dead on arrival due to a blood clot that stopped the baby’s heart.
Last night I attended a women’s meeting where the women of the church old and young got up and declared that grief is always a part of us, there is no expiration date, and we just need to grieve forever, allowing grief to be apart of us.And saying things like no one knows anything about grief unless they have experienced the same thing themselves.Talking about the physical debilitation it can do to your body and so on.
Then after all this they had the woman who lost her baby get up and answer questions about her grief talking about it for 30 minutes or more. She proceeded to make angry remarks about people whose babies had been healed and how praying and putting your grief down to live a victorious life was all more harmful than good, because a life of faith is a hard life with no advantages except for the afterlife.
Needless to say I don’t feel like this is biblical at all.Yes, we have time to grieve,but it shouldn’t be for ever and one eventually needs to pick up the pieces and move on.
Please help! Thanks ever so much for your time.
As a student of our teachings, you have most likely heard us often explain that, as important as our emotions are, we must be in control of them rather than allowing them to control us. You have successfully worked on yourself to “think Biblically” and what you have learned is guiding you. We want to validate that your instincts in this case are entirely correct.
As you say, ‘it shouldn’t be forever’ because if it is, added to other deaths in the church community, all of them also observed forever, eventually the church becomes overwhelmed by an incessant tsunami of grief in the midst of which no celebration of anything is ever possible.
The Bible does impose a time limit on (public) grief “and when the days of his grief were over” (Genesis 50:4) and “The Israelites grieved for Moses in the plains of Moab thirty days, until the time of weeping and mourning was over.” (Deuteronomy 34:8) Privately, one observes an annual commemoration on the anniversary of death however, imposing one’s grief upon the entire community forever is wrong.
We do want to warn you that we don’t think that there is anything that you can say or do that will change the minds of the women in your church. They seem to be following today’s general culture that elevates feelings above all else.