2 Corinthians 1:3-6 says, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer."
This week's blog is a little different than usual. It is for those who are continually called upon to comfort those around them. Those who friends come to for counsel and advice.
Imagine this scenario. So a friend comes to you and explains some kind of struggle they are going through, and it is significant. The friend begins to cry and you, caught off guard see the tears and... what? What do you do?
Most people I know see tears and rush into the situation like it is a burning building; not checking the surrounding area to see the full scope of the situation. I see leaders all the time rushing in, running through the flames to douse the blaze with water, when all they had to do was pull the lever for the water system built in to extinguish the flames.
...Okay done talking metaphorically!
But the question is: why do we feel the need to stop the person from feeling bad? How often do we consider that feeling bad is often a step on the path to healing? Stop for a moment and considered that when we stop a person from feeling the weight of their sorrow, we might be stealing their blessing and healing. What is it in our culture and within ourselves that often prevents us from allowing the person to grieve, or feel sad, angry, frustrated or the pain that they are experiencing?
The truth is that pain leads to freedom. Think of your own experiences with pain and the path to freedom. The pain was likely overwhelming and the words of a friend, Pastor, or Counselor in those moments of anguish really didn't help. It wasn't until after the pain started to subside that words began to help process what had happened.
As a Pastor, Counselor, Husband, and Father I have found that in someone's moment of anguish it is better to just BE with that person- fully present, just a shoulder to cry on- than to speak.
Police Chaplain Gary Holden calls this the 'Ministry of Presence'. Sometimes, our very presence is more than enough to comfort a person experiencing deep pain. Just to BE is enough for the person to allow for the pain to come out and for them to feel safe and secure to process and heal.
Don’t let the tears frighten you!
Allow the tears to flow.
Allow for the person to weep and moan, wail and scream.
All the while, continue praying for them and asking the Holy Spirit to reveal when and if you should speak. There have been times when the Lord has said to me “Do not speak” and the person would be experiencing their pain for an extended period of time, but there were no words to say to comfort them at that moment, but the mere presence of someone who cares is all the person needs.
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About the Author: Greg Elias, of Restoration and Redemptive Counseling is a Professionally Certified Counselor with a Master's Degree in Professional Counseling, and Licensed Pastor with experience in Christian Counseling at Alive Again Alliance Church in Toms River New Jersey. His method of counseling is a combination of both experienced mental health treatment and faith-based healing, centered around the restoration of both the mind and the spirit. Whether you are dealing with depression, anxiety, PTSD, bipolar disorder, or any mental or spiritual turmoil, Greg Elias and Restoration and Redemptive Counseling is here to help you find peace within. If you are looking for Mental Health Treatment, Christian Counseling or a Mental Health Service Provider please get in touch with us today. Please call or text us at (732) 592-9777 We are here for you.