Adam McHugh's book "The Listening Life" is an incredible read; life-changing to tell the truth.
His chapter on listening to people in pain is worth the price of the entire book.
A few excerpts for you to ponder today:
"Few things shut down a person in pain faster than quoting the Bible at them ... sometimes people use the Bible in a way that makes hurting people feel like God is telling them to shut up.
... it has been my experience that Christians are often worse at dealing with people in pain than others with different beliefs. Truth be told, I have chosen on many occasions to share my painful moments and emotions with non-Christians rather than Christians because I knew I would be better heard ...
A hurting person is in a storm. They are cold, wet, shivering and scared.
Preaching, platitudes and advice will not get them out of the storm.
Don't tell someone in a storm that it is a sunny day.
There will likely come a day when the clouds part, but it is not today.
It's not your job to pull them out of the storm.
It's your job to get soaked with them."
As you come across people in pain, notice what their grief or sadness stirs up within you.
Most often, it is our own discomfort with other people's sadness that causes us to blurt out Scripture,
propose pompous platitudes,
or subtly blame them for their tears.
This is 100% unhelpful.
But very often we are not primarily seeking to be helpful to people in pain.
Most often we are simply trying to get them to stop being sad,
so that we don't have to face the truth that life is hard,
that into every life some rain will fall,
and that on this side of eternity grief is a road we must all eventually walk down.
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