A man crying tears of sorrow at a funeral

What to write in a Christian sympathy card

A sympathy card can be sent for a plethora of reasons. There is so much pain and darkness in the world, sending a card to show your love, care and empathy will be a common occurrence, no doubt.

Writing a sympathy card is undeniably one of the hardest things a friend has to do. But it is so important. We can get caught in the trap of thinking sending a card will make the person left behind sad. But in reality, they are already sad, and having someone come alongside them and speak about the person who died, mention them in a card, bring to mind memories will make them feel loved, cared for and a little bit less alone.

Why send a sympathy card?

I have said a little about this in my introduction, but it bear repeating with the words of Elizabeth Edwards:

If you know someone who has lost a child of lost anybody who is important to them and you’re afraid to make them sad by reminding them that they died, they didn’t forget they died. You’re not reminding them. What you’re reminding them of is that you remembered they lived. And that is a great, great gift.

We are told to mourn with those who mourn.

As Christians, we are called to rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn (Romans 12:15). Sending a card with heartfelt words of sympathy and support is one simple way to mourn with someone mourning. It is difficult to ease the journey of grief, but knowing that someone is there and walking alongside you on that journey gives a little light along the way.

If you are far, this is the best way to help.

This applies to friends near and far. If you are far, sending a card may be the best thing you can do to share in someone’s grief and sadness. Send love, prayers, thoughts and support from across the miles when you can’t give a hug or a shoulder to cry on. You could add in a gift card so they can get themselves a coffee on you, or order from a local company to deliver something special to your friend.

Add a card to an offer of help.

If you live close to the person suffering loss, you might want to drop by with a meal, an offer to babysit, or find another way you can help. Adding a card with some well meaning words can make a huge difference in the amount of love, care and support someone will feel.

You may well wonder what you can say that will be of help to someone who has recently suffered loss. It’ll depend on the reason you want to send a sympathy card - as I said before, there is a lot of pain in the world. However, offering empathy, sensitivity and compassion will mean a lot and go a long way.

Below are few Bible verses that will bring comfort and some general ideas that will be suitable for a lot of circumstances, before giving some specific ideas of what to write for specific forms of grief.

The lord is close to the broken hearted - psalm 34:18 sympathy condolence card

What to write in your Christian sympathy card.

Here is a simple sentence or two you can copy out word for word, or alter slightly to fit the circumstances.

I know you are heartbroken about the death of such an amazing and important person in your life. I know how much [insert the name of the person who has died] meant to you, and I can't imagine what this loss feels like.

Or even simpler, and perhaps more apt for someone you aren’t just as close to: I was so sorry to hear that [insert the name of the person] has died. I know nothing I can say can ease the pain.

Remember that you aren’t writing to a patient, you are writing to a friend who is hurting. Use your knowledge of the person to choose words that will help them.

If you have a story to share or a memory of the person who died, share it in the card. Knowing that others also remember the person they are missing will be a comfort and balm. Again, your friend is already sad, and nothing you say is going to take away the pain, sadness and tears. Be there with them, sit (metaphorically through a card, or in real life if at all possible) in the discomfort and the pain.

Dont shy away from asking them to join you in doing something, going out for a cuppa or dropping a meal round. This will help them to feel like they haven’t been forgotten, even if they decline the offer. Offer often.

Great is thy faithfulness sympathy card

Include truth from the word of God.

Scripture is truth and is God-breathed (2 Timothy 3:16) so using it to comfort and give peace is a great idea. The God we serve is the God of peace, comfort, He is Emmanuel, God with us. Writing His words of love and compassion is the best thing you can do - He is closer than a brother, He is a shelter from storms, He is the good shepherd who cares for His sheep.

According to 1 Thessalonians 4, we do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who do not have hope. We will be alive again with Jesus in the heavenly realms.

Lifting you up in prayer sympathy card

Bible verses to share truth in tough times.

‘So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you.’- John 16:22

’The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures.’ - Psalm 23:1 - but really, all of Psalm 23 is good for times of sorrow and grief.

‘Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me.’ - John 14:1

‘Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ.’ - 2 Corinthians 1:3-5

‘Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.’ - 1 Peter 5:7

‘So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.’ - Isaiah 41:10

‘The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.’ - Psalm 18:2

There is comfort in scripture, even during grief and loss. It will not make everything better, but the peace of God in times like these is undeniable, supernatural and trustworthy.

‘Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me.’ - John 14:1

‘God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear.’ - Psalm 46:1-2

Praying for you Christian condolence card

How to sign off your condolence card

You could end your card with the words that express your willingness to be a part of the person’s life snd to share in their grief, making it a little bit less heavy. Something like, “When you feel ready, I am ready and waiting, I have been thinking about you and love you. You have people in your world that are here for you.”

Below your name, add in another Bible verse that will remind them that God is always close and has not left them.

‘He heals the broken-hearted and binds up their wounds.’ - Psalm 147:3

‘The Lord is close to the broken hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.’ - Psalm 34:18

‘My flesh and my heart may fail but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.’ - Psalm 73:26

Thinking of you especially today grief and loss anniversary card

Keep checking in after you’ve sent your sympathy card

Remember that grief is forever. Set yourself a calendar reminder to check in with them in a few weeks, and again after that, especially after the one year anniversary when people often cease to offer support.

The best way you can be a great friend and source of comfort is to keep on checking in when others don’t anymore.

Anniversaries will be particularly difficult. If the person who died was your friend’s spouse, send them a card saying you’re thinking of them especially today on the birthday of the person who died, and on their wedding anniversary. Those will be really tough days, especially the first one after death. Also mark in your diary to send another card on the anniversary of the person’s death.

These little acts of kindness and remembering will mean a great deal to the person who is grieving and will help them to feel less alone in their grief.

And Hope Designs has a lovely selection of Christian sympathy cards, including ones with a scripture on them to bring God’s word to the fore in times of trial and pain. You can browse the collection here.

Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.

1 of 3