What to Say When…

You’ve been there, right?

You’ve lost someone you really loved.
You’ve watched a love one hurt.
You’ve had a steady job that became unsteady.
You’ve had the “routine” doctor’s appointment turn less than routine.

Maybe it was the phone call, the knock at the door, the unexpected conversation; maybe it was the moment, the hours, the days, or the years where everything changed.

It is during these times that Christians do the strangest things. Maybe in the fear of saying nothing they feel the obligation to blurt something out that sounds reassuring; maybe they just don’t think. The Bible makes the response easy.

Romans 12:15: 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.

It’s simple; it’s direct. Just empathize and be a friend.

So, here’s a list of things that the Bible doesn’t say and actual comments made to people I know. I’m quite sure you could add to the list.

– Tell those who mourn that what they grieve wouldn’t have been best for them anyway. “I’m sorry you are miscarrying, but I’m sure the baby wouldn’t have been healthy anyway.”

-Tell those who mourn how to fix it. “You can always take this advice and fix your health ailment.”

– Tell those who mourn that there is probably someone who is suffering more than them. “I know you are worried about your son. Can you imagine how hard it would be if he were really sick and dying of cancer?”

-Tell those that mourn your horror stories. “My aunt’s niece had that disease, and she has never really got well. Did you know that this singer died from it?”

– Tell those who mourn that their families will someday emerge stronger. “I’m sure your family will be stronger with all you have been through.”

– Tell those who mourn that some day they will get over it. “Someday, this won’t matter to you.”

– Tell those who mourn that all things work for the good of those who love the Lord. “How has God blessed you through this tragedy?”

It’s not that I don’t believe any of those things. I do. I believe at least some of them. It’s just that God orders us to mourn when others mourn. We can be present and sad with them. That’s it. It’s that simple. While the hard times may be far from blessings, they do showcase God’s mercies. My dear friend, our mourning with friends is one of those mercies.

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