When comforters disappoint us

In the Book of Job, Job loses his children, his wealth and his health. Hearing about Job’s troubles, three friends come to console him.  Job 2:12-13 (NIV) “When they saw him from a distance, they could hardly recognize him; they began to weep aloud, and they tore their robes and sprinkled dust on their heads. Then they sat on the ground with him for seven days and seven nights. No one said a word to him, because they saw how great his suffering was.” For seven days and nights, Job’s friends simply sat with him. They were wonderful comfort. Then, they began to speak. They waxed eloquent about what Job must have done to cause such hardship to fall upon him. Truthfully, they blew it. In grief, we often have comforters who, in their attempt to help, speak words that are neither helpful nor comforting. Often, they have the best of intentions but do not know what to say. It is disappointing and sometimes hurtful to hear their words. I want you to know that it is perfectly within your rights to say, “that was not helpful.” You have the right to protect your heart from words that wound rather than heal. Good friends will respect you for speaking up. They may even thank you for helping them better to understand comforting a grieving person.

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