Rev. Heath’s column contains helpful suggestions for times when you are speaking to anyone in a period of grief.
As a former pastor, I have heard many of the phrases on the “don’t say” list from well-meaning, but misguided persons who are trying to help but end up hurting.
From my vantage point, saying the wrong thing always makes things worse, no matter how well-intentioned. “I am sorry for your loss, you’ll be in my thoughts and prayers” is all you really need to say to someone who is grieving, as your presence in their time of grief speaks volumes to your care and concern for them.
Perhaps churches should consider providing training on how to minister to persons in grief (what to say, what not to say, etc.), as well as discussion about what some of the cliche phrases suggest about the divine.
The full-text of Rev. Heath’s column can be found here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rev-emily-c-heath/dealing-with-grief-five-t_b_2303910.html