Cliché words of comfort:
Have you ever suffered greatly? Have you ever been struggling with something so bad that you desperately needed someone to talk to?
Then in your brokenness, you seek out help, and you cry out to someone who is a Christian. In the midst of your misery, you are pouring out your heart, and then the cliché advice begins to be shared. This person begins to slowly invalidate your entire existence. Each answer that they produce makes you feel small, and ultimately makes you feel like you’re that you don’t matter.
They say words like:
Their advice: “It could be worse.”
Your response: It will be if you keep talking, let me show you…
Their advice: “Be thankful for what you have.”
Your response: “I am but you don’t know what I lost.”
Their advice: “At least you don’t have that person to put up with any more.” Your response: “I never wanted to quit putting up with them”
Their advice: “It’s going to get better.”
“One day, it will all get better.”When one door closes and another one opens.”Your response: “How long is the hallway to the next one?”
Does any of this sound familiar? Sadly, many of us who are believers tend to forget where we came from. The pain of yesterday is forgotten by the prosperity of today. We are either in a fire, coming out of a fire, or about to enter another fire in our life. With this in mind, we would all do well to be more compassionate, less judgmental, and more merciful.
People in this world are hurting. We are to be the hands and feet of Christ to them. This doesn’t mean that we are to fix their situation with a mere few words. It means we are to exemplify Him in our actions:
We are to show up, when everyone else leaves.
We are to listen and love on them and not say a word.
We are to cry with them, pray with them, and lend a hand.
We are to give of ourselves in such a way that God is glorified.
As firefighters, it is our job to bring a sense of normalcy back to a chaotic situation. We stabilize the situation but we do not heal the pain that remains. Our acts of compassionate service may ease the burden temporarily but the process of healing, mourning, and reconciliation takes time. It is heartless and thoughtless to expect someone to get over their situation instantly.
Remember these verses the next time you are confronted with another who is hurting:
When they have lost someone: “Jesus Wept” (John 11:35)
When they are alone: Jesus cried out “My God, My God why have you
forsaken me” (Mark 15:33)
When someone betrays them: All of Jesus’ disciples abandoned Him and
no one spoke up for Him while He was on the cross except for a condemned criminal named Dismas.
When someone has hurt them deeply: “When they hurled insults at Him, He did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead He trusted Himself to Him who judges justly.” (1 Peter 2:23)
When others do wrong while you do what is right: “abstain from sinful desires that wage war against your soul. Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they may accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day He visits us.” 1 Peter 2:11-12
In closing, remember your words, actions, and very life can be a means of comfort to another but there is a cost. It will not be comfortable. It will not be convenient. It will require sacrifice and your heart will be heavy. It is the cost of discipleship.
It is by His strength that we are able to come along side our friends and “carry each other’s burdens, and this way you fulfill the law of Christ.” (Galatians 6:2)
Remember what He has done for you and go and show His love to others. He didn’t wait for you to ask forgiveness before He died for you. He died so that we may live. Let us not forget that in our ministry to others.