Is it OK to Talk to Our Loved Ones Who’ve Passed On?

Whether someone’s death comes at the end of a long and difficult illness or is sudden and completely unexpected, the void for the friends and family left behind can feel impossibly huge or completely unbearable. One piece of advice offered by psychologists and grief counselors to someone who is grieving the death of a friend or loved one is to continue talking to the person. Specifically, the grieving individual may be encouraged to visit the grave site or to continue talking aloud to the person who has died in situations where the individual normally would have been present or participating.

On one hand, this advice makes sense. Normalcy can aid recovery. Yet, for the person who believes the Bible and wants to reconcile deep grief with Biblical thinking, the question could exist: Is it OK to talk to someone who has died? Does the Bible forbid it or condemn it in any way?

Here are three thoughts to consider.

Differentiate Talking vs. Prayer

First, it is important (even critical) to understand the difference between talking to a person and praying to a person.

The Bible is clear. 1 Timothy 2:5 says, “For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” Additionally, the Bible specifically instructs believers to pray to God in the name of Jesus. So when people pray to Mary or to any of the saints, this is problematic. Taking it one step further, it is a violation of Scripture to pray to the dead. Deuteronomy 18 says, “Let no one be found among you … who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. Anyone who does these things is detestable to the Lord” (10-12).

That said, all talking to an individual is not the same thing as praying. In one sense, people talk to themselves all the time as a means of working through a problem or committing an important thought or fact to memory. If talking aloud to a person who has died enables someone to work through grief, it should be seen as much the same thing. People aren’t praying when they talk to themselves, and they aren’t necessarily praying when they speak to someone who has passed away.

Take requests to the One Who hears

Second, it is important to remember that God invites His children to bring their petitions to Him as a child would take a request to his father. John 15:7 says, “If you remain in Me and My words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.”

While there doesn’t appear to be any problem with someone speaking aloud to someone who has died, wouldn’t it be even better to know that the person heard or received the message? And since God invites His children to ask whatever they wish, wouldn’t it be possible for someone to ask God to speak to the person and deliver the message? Nothing is impossible for God! He can deliver a word or a hug on behalf of someone who is grieving.

Find comfort in the presence of God

Finally, the Word of God exists for hurting hearts. Hebrews 4:15 says, “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are–yet He did not sin.”

This isn’t meant as religious platitude. Real grief and God’s presence are not mutually exclusive. For people who believe the Bible, it would be a great misunderstanding to talk only to the one who has died and not the One Who lives and loves them unconditionally.

Final word to the grieving

Keep in mind, Jesus lost far more in His earthly life than His children ever will. So when God inspired David to write the words of Psalm 23, He knew personally what it was to suffer in this way. One of the kindest verses God included in Scripture is Psalm 23:4, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.”

Note the word “through.” It is God’s plan for those who suffer loss to walk through the valley of the shadow of death.

It is not permanent, and He will be there every step of the way.

~ Christian Patriot Daily


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