What Grieving People Wish You Knew about What Really Helps (and What Really Hurts)

By Nancy Guthrie

... Show All


Crossway+ members receive 30% off books. Learn more.

Availability: In Stock

Retail Price: $14.99

What Grieving People Wish You Knew about What Really Helps (and What Really Hurts)

By Nancy Guthrie

... Show All

We want to say or do something that helps our grieving friend. But what?

When someone we know is grieving, we want to help. But sometimes we stay away or stay silent, afraid that we will do or say the wrong thing, that we will hurt instead of help.

In this straightforward and practical book, Nancy Guthrie provides us with the insight we need to confidently interact with grieving people. Drawing upon the input of hundreds of grieving people, as well as her own experience of grief, Nancy offers specifics on what to say and what not to say, and what to do and what to avoid. Tackling touchy topics like talking about heaven, navigating interactions on social media, and more, this book will equip readers to support those who are grieving with wisdom and love.

Read Chapter 1


Nancy Guthrie

Nancy Guthrie teaches the Bible at her home church, Cornerstone Presbyterian Church in Franklin, Tennessee, as well as at conferences around the country and internationally, including her Biblical Theology Workshop for Women. She is the author of numerous books and the host of the Help Me Teach the Bible podcast with the Gospel Coalition. She and her husband founded Respite Retreats for couples who have faced the death of a child, and they are cohosts of the GriefShare video series. 

Product Details

Category: Christian Living
Church Ministry
Format: Paperback
Page Count: 192
Size: 5.25 in x 7.75 in
Weight: 7.12 ounces
ISBN-10: 1-4335-5235-3
ISBN-13: 978-1-4335-5235-9
ISBN-UPC: 9781433552359
Case Quantity: 60
Published: September 30, 2016

Table of Contents


  1. What to Say (and What Not to Say)
  2. Typical Things People Say (and What You Can Say Instead)
  3. Assumptions We Make That Keep Us Away (and Why We Should Simply Show Up)
  4. What to Do (and What Not to Do)
  5. Social Media and Grief (When the “Like” Button Just Seems Wrong)
  6. Let’s Talk about Talking about Heaven (and Hell)
  7. A Few Quick Questions (and Answers)



Subject Index

Scripture Index


“This book is tender, compassionate, clear, honest, gospel-rich, and practical. There is nothing distant and theoretical about it, because it's written out of the deep well of the author's own experience.”
Paul David Tripp, author, New Morning Mercies: A Daily Gospel Devotional

“Most of us struggle with what to say and how to help when interacting with a person who is grieving. This wonderful book will help you be more comfortable ministering after a death because you’ll better understand what your family member or friend needs most. I read this book on an airplane, headed for a funeral. I learned helpful things that I was able to use immediately.”
Steve Grissom, Founder, GriefShare

“In the aftermath of deep loss, grievers struggle to articulate what is helpful. These honest and practical suggestions will equip tenderhearted people to come alongside us as we grieve.”
Kay Warren, Cofounder, Saddleback Church; international speaker; best-selling author, Choose Joy

“Someday, someone close to each of us will die. During that difficult time, the right words can comfort us and point us to Christ. What Grieving People Wish You Knew offers great counsel from those who went through the dark days of a loved one’s death. For friends of the grieving, this book can help you to offer comfort. In this book are examples of healing words that grievers need to hear—told by those who longed to hear them. These stories from those of us who have grieved, and are still grieving, will give believers the confidence to come and sit with us on the mourning bench.”
Mark GreenPresident, The White Horse Inn

What Grieving People Wish You Knew is a timely and priceless resource for men and women who are compelled to live out the Bible’s directive to 'weep with those who weep' but feel helpless to do so. This book is profoundly practical, and I am personally grateful to have it as a resource to share with so many who desire to love the grieving well.”
Raechel Myers, Cofounder, She Reads Truth

“Nancy Guthrie writes pointedly about what hurts when we’re trying to minister to hurting people. We can all learn much from poor examples—from Job’s miserable comforters. What Grieving People Wish You Knew provides an A+ lesson plan in what not to say and do as comforters. Of course, Nancy does not stop there, for she also writes poignantly about Christlike comfort. With wisdom and compassion, Nancy weaves Scripture, her story, and the stories of scores of grievers to encourage, empower, and equip us to esteem grief and to care like Christ as we minister to those who grieve.”
Bob Kellemen, Academic Dean and Professor of Biblical Counseling, Faith Bible Seminary; author, Grief: Walking with Jesus

“Grief persists as a constant presence in a fallen world. And as common as grief is, so is the silence of friends or family members who aren't quite sure how to help. Nancy Guthrie's What Grieving People Wish You Knew enters into this silent void and offers the clear and practical voice of experience and wisdom. In a unique and captivating way, Guthrie unleashes the testimonies of numerous individuals who have recently experienced grief. Their words, along with Guthrie's synthesis, allows the reader to know what truly helps and what truly hurts as we seek to minister to our grief-stricken loved ones. Do you want to be a good friend to those grieving around you? Then this is the book for you.”
Jason Helopoulos, Senior Pastor, University Reformed Church, East Lansing, Michigan; author, Covenantal Baptism; The New Pastor’s Handbook; and The Promise