Helping My JW Friend Grieve

My friend Mark called me because a friend of his died. His friend was not a JW, but rather a practicing Roman Catholic. So the funeral was in the Catholic church, and Mark attended. That speaks volumes for the concern Mark had for his friend and the family, that he would attend a “forbidden” church service in one of “Satan’s religious organizations.” I sensed that Mark wanted to talk with me to help with his grieving. I wondered why he called me rather than one of the members of his congregation. Perhaps he felt that they would not provide the same level of care, or perhaps he feared their discovering that he had attended a service in the Catholic church. Whatever the case, I proceeded to help him process his grief, including his guilt over his friend’s death. His friend had committed suicide, and Mark wondered whether he had failed his friend in some way. I assured Mark that such guilt was not merited, and that the friend’s family probably felt similar guilt. I commended Mark for being there with the family, and that his presence was likely very helpful to them. Mark and I discussed a few doctrinal issues briefly, but the bulk of our conversation centered on Mark and his friend. Sometimes meeting a JW friend’s need, and taking the time to BE a true friend, has more impact than the most convincing arguments.

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