We have all been in a situation where someone we care about is hurting, and we wonder what to say. How do you speak to someone who has just lost a loved one? What words are adequate when someone has just received a dreadful diagnosis?
Sadly, many people have had to suffer through the perhaps well-intentioned although poorly timed "words of wisdom" that would have been better left unsaid. Have you ever sat in a room where emotions are intense and raw and listened as someone began to speak to a hurting soul, and you just grimaced at what was being shared?
The tension arises because people do not know what to do. When tragedy strikes, it often seems we have to choose between either going to them and saying something or avoiding them because we do not know what to say. Sadly, neither of these options are likely to help.
Scripture gives us a third option. We find it in Romans 12:15 which says, "...weep with those who weep." Isn't that simple and at the same time, beautiful? You do not have to have magical words to say. You are not going to be able to take the pain away. So, maybe next time, just weep with the one who is hurting. Do not avoid them. Let them know you care. Do not feel the need to try to talk them out of their grief either. Just be near.
To be sure there will come a time when someone will need to help a grieving person through their pain. Questions will need to be addressed. Answers will be sought. But, at first, what a gift to just be present with a hurting person and to simply weep with them.
The ministry of your nearness is a tremendous blessing to a hurting person. The gift of someone knowing you care may be the best thing you could give them. We would do well to resist the urge to be profound, and instead, just be near.
After a time of weeping, point hurting people to Scripture. Remind them of the truth of God's Word and His promises. When you speak, let your words be more of Scripture and less of you. But, at first, have a biblical response to someone who is hurting. Sit by them. Hug them. Be near. And weep with those who weep.
The gift of a quiet, prayerful, weeping friend is a great gift indeed.
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