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Friday, August 8, 2014

Friends Need Me To Share Their Pain

In review of Romans 12:15 it says, “Laugh with your happy friends when they’re happy; share tears when they’re down.”

Bottom Line:
Be happy with those who are happy, share their tears when they’re down (hurt with them).

What this means to me:
I am to be close enough to others that I can share in their happiness and also in their sadness (hurt with them). Rick Warren says “the interesting thing about pain and joy is that whenever you share a joy, it gets doubled. But it’s the opposite with pain. When I share a pain, it’s halved.” Therefor when friends are going through a crisis, they need me to help carry the load and lessen the pain. What I’m learning regarding sharing pain with my friends is that is not completely about sympathy. Sympathy says, “I’m sorry you hurt.” People don’t need my sympathy. What they need is my empathy. Empathy says, “I hurt with you.” Sympathy stands at a distance. Empathy draws close. The ultimate form of love is compassion. Compassion says, “I’ll do anything I can to stop your hurt.” In the Bible, I see that Jesus was repeatedly moved with compassion. He was willing to do whatever he could to stop others’ hurt, including going to the cross. He was willing to die to stop my hurt. That’s compassion. The Bible says in Romans 12:15, “Laugh with your happy friends when they’re happy; share tears when they’re down” (MSG). That means cry with them. Weep with those who weep. What do friends do? They show up. They share the pain, and they shut up. They don’t give pious platitudes. They don’t give advice. They don’t try to talk a friend out of his pain. They don’t say, “It’s going to be OK.” They just say, “We’re going to sit here with you. We’re going to be here for you. We’re going to hurt with you.” Real friends show up, and they hurt with you. Given this, Prayer is always a first thing, but after that, I think the best time to not say anything else but to be present is when you really don’t know what to do or to say.