Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Being present

Mark D. Roberts offers good counsel to those attempting to help someone who is grieving:
.... The most important thing we can do is be present with those who hurt. Sometimes our presence will be literal. Sometimes it will be expressed through a card or a letter or a meal. Presence says "I am with you. And I will be with you through this process." Presence doesn't try to make things better. It doesn't offer explanations or solutions. Presence doesn't try to fix things. Rather, it offers love in tangible, faithful, and non-invasive ways.

Our American tendency is to want to help people feel better, to take away their pain. Thus we're often tempted to "cheer people up." We want to say things like, "I'm sure God will work good things out of this tragedy." Now this might be true. Indeed, I believe it is. But when people are in the midst of deep grief, such words, even when true, can seem terribly superficial. Worse yet, they can feel like a knife cutting an even deeper wound. Let your words be few. [more]
And one of the commentors, a counselor, offers:
Be quiet. It seems to me that the only time Job’s counselors did him any good was the week they sat with him and were quiet. There are times when I am tempted to call upon my vast resources of psychological and theological truths, and to trot out my self-acclaimed wisdom, but I am compelled by the Spirit to say nothing.

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