Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Christian Comfort versus Dismissiveness

It might be just me...cause I'm touchy like that... but do Christians often equate comforting each other with being dismissive about the specific sorrow?

I've seen and heard it so many times: Christian A starts talking about some sorrow; Christian B responds with a platitude that often is aimed to making Christian A feel better -- after all, God is strong and all-- but inevitably the comfort comes off as dismissive.

"Sure you have no house but well, there are people who are sick in the hospital dying."
Well, yes, that is true...but putting the problem in proportion to the general suffering out there doesn't help the sufferer does it? It might make the sufferer feel belittled or it might make the sufferer belittle his own pain as invalid.

What is true comfort?

It is hopeful. It acknowledges the pain of the person. It comes from the mouth of someone who fully understands (or at least tries to appear as if she fully understands) the sufferer's plight. True comfort implies the listener will do something about the situation: namely the listener will go to God and pray and intercede in a very personal caring way about the situation. 


Gloria said...

I truly needed this, today! Thank you. I have experienced this a lot in the past week, I am just getting comfortable in a new Church and finally feel able to open up to people, but as they are getting to know me, I do feel that what I am just stating as a fact more often earns a response of "lecturing" or "pastoring" me or "measuring my faith" when what I really yearn for is simply a shoulder to lean on. I love how you mention prayer. I will consider this in future, as I love to pray. I don't want to come across to others as they are coming across to me, so next time someone tells me their problems and I truly don't know how to reply I will just offer to pray for and with them and do so on the spot as well as when I get home. Great idea. Thank you.

Carole McDonnell said...

Hi Gloria. It's so hard... befriending and accepting friendships from Christians, So many ways to hurt or be hurt by each other.

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