Give them your heart

consoling5

by Stan Mitchell

“Rejoice with those who rejoice; weep with those who weep” (Romans 12:15).

Charles Swindoll in his book “Killing Giants, Pulling Thorns,” tells of a little child who lost a playmate to death. One day the child announced to her family that she had gone to comfort the sorrowing mother.

Surprised, and a little alarmed, her family wondered what had happened.

“What did you say?” asked her father.

“Oh nothing,” the little girl responded, “I just climbed up on her lap and cried with her.”

I doubt that the most eloquent preacher in town could have communicated better. When someone loses a loved one we are afraid to speak to the bereaved. “I won’t know what to say,” we declare, “What if I say the wrong thing?” we fret.

These fears are natural. But remember in your anxiety that their sorrow is much greater than your discomfort.

I have learned that it is better to try to do something than to leave the bereaved without a word at all, without the touch of a caring friend. Even if you do nothing more than “weep with those who weep,” your very caring has communicated something important.

Most people who are experiencing this don’t expect you to say something that is historically profound. Your words of wisdom won’t dispel the cloud of hurt they are under, and they understand that. What they do want is to know if someone cares.

Hold a hand. Write a card. Pull a thorn out of a throbbing foot. Shed a tear with them.

Those actions will say more than your words can, anyway.

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Stan Mitchell

Stan has preached since 1976, in Zimbabwe, California, Texas and Tennessee. He serves as preacher for the Red Walnut Church of Christ in Bath Springs, TN. He is currently Professor of Bible at Freed-Hardeman University. He is married to the former Marjorie McCarthy, and has one daughter, Tracy Watts. He is the author of four books: The Wise Get Wiser, the Foolish More Foolish: The Book of Proverbs, Give the Winds a Mighty Voice: Our Worship in Song, and Equipping the Saints for Ministry. He has recently published another book, "Will Our Faith Have Children: Developing Leadership in the Church for the Next Generation.

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