Saturday, April 5, 2014

We have different gifts, according to the grace given us.  If a man's gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith.  If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage...Romans 12:6-8 NIV 
I fight the urge to lash out at insensitive and shallow comments about grief. A lot of people just don't know what to say and instead of remaining silent, they fill the awkwardness with trite advice and platitudes.  Sadly, three camps are at fault: the friends on the sideline who have never experienced great loss, but assume they have the best answer, the fixers who serve up unfiltered, unsolicited advice, and surprisingly, the wounded warriors who have camped in the trenches all too often, who mildly chastise those seeking comfort. Instead of using their past sorrows to minister to the newly afflicted, the most wounded often lecture about remaining strong and brave, "because it eventually happens to all of us!  "Now, honey, would you have wanted him to suffer? Life goes on and you need to make the most of it."  Statements like these produce more guilt than healing; I run for cover! 
Paul teaches me that not everyone has been entrusted with the spiritual gift of encouragement and even those who have don't always exercise it. That softens the blow a lot. I realize that for many, saying the right words just doesn't come easily and I need to be more understanding.   Conversely, I am so grateful for those graced with such a wonderful gift, who exhort me and others in this difficult journey. 
Words are powerful; they can build or destroy.  Grieving hearts don't need more wounds.
I want to learn to be a great encourager. God doesn't let any of us off the hook just because He might have assigned us a different set of spiritual gifts. Many scriptures spur each one of us to encourage others in good and bad times. 
 Please, God, deliver me out of this trial with a zeal to uplift the next wounded soul. Teach me silence and sensitivity when needed and never let me forget this pain so I can be present in another's grief.

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