2 Corinthians 1:4 - "Comfort those in any trouble."

“Where have you been?” the mother questioned. 

The little girl replied, “On my way home I met a friend who was crying because she had broken her doll.”

“Oh,” said her mother, “then you stopped to help her fix the doll?” 

“No,” replied the little girl, “I stopped to help her cry.” 

Jesus said, "In this world you will have trouble" (John 16:33). In life, it's not a matter of if we're going to be hurt, but rather when and how we will deal with the pain. Hurt and pain are common experiences in life and only one thing will bring true relief - comfort. When someone needs comfort, try to avoid these unproductive responses:
  1. Advice/instruction – “Let me give you some steps of action to solve the problem.” “Maybe next time that happens you should...”
  2. Logic/reasoning – “Let me analyze the situation and tell you why it happened.” “I think the reason that happened was because...”
  3. Pep talk – “You’re a winner! You’ll make it through these tough times!” “I’m sure tomorrow will be a better day.”
  4. Minimize – “Sure it hurts, but get it in perspective; there’s a lot going on that’s good.” “Aren’t you being overly sensitive?”
  5. Anger – “That makes me so mad! They shouldn’t get away with that!” “I’m so upset that you keep getting yourself hurt.”
  6. Martyr’s complex – “I had something similar happen to me.” “After the kind of day I had, let me tell you what hurt really feels like.”
  7. Personal fear/anxiety – “I’m afraid that what has happened to you is going to affect my life too.”
  8. Silence/neglect – Not saying anything.
  9. Mr. “Fix it” – “I can’t believe that salesman talked to you like that. I’m calling the store right now and talking to his boss.” “I know you must have been scared when you had a flat tire on that lonely road. Tomorrow I’ll take the car in and get a whole new set of tires.”
  10. Spiritualizing – “Well, you know that God will work all of this out for your good.” “It’s good to know that we are more than conquerors through Christ!”
While some of these responses may be appropriate to share after the hurting person has been comforted, they don’t work as the initial response. Comfort first, then when appropriate, offer advice, spiritual guidance, etc. 

Written by Don McMinn, Ph.D. (noreply@blogger.com) — December 10, 2012

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