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

By Nancy Guthrie

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

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

By Nancy Guthrie

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.


Nancy Guthrie teaches the Bible to women at her church, Cornerstone Presbyterian Church in Franklin, Tennessee, and at conferences worldwide. She and her husband, David, are the cohosts of the GriefShare video series used in more than 10,000 churches nationwide and also host Respite Retreats for couples who have experienced the death of a child. Guthrie is also the host of Help Me Teach the Bible, a podcast from the Gospel Coalition.


“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, President, Paul Tripp Ministries; author, New Morning Mercies and Suffering

“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.”
Robert W. Kelleman, Vice President of Strategic Development and Academic Dean, Faith Bible Seminary; author, God’s Healing for Life’s Losses and 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, Associate Pastor, University Reformed Church, East Lansing, Michigan; author, A Neglected Grace; The New Pastor’s Handbook; and Let the Children Worship 

Related Media:

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


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