June 3, 2021
Whoever sings songs to a heavy heart is like one who takes off a garment on a cold day, and like vinegar on soda. Proverbs 25:20 ESV
In the above verse, Solomon provides a couple of poignant images of discomfort to illustrate the disastrous results of trying to cheer up someone who is sad or depressed. These wise words of Solomon are echoed in his poetic verse of Ecclesiastes: “…a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance…” (Ecc 3:4).
Many of us when pressed into conversation with those who are grieving say too much or try to jolly them up when all that is needed is our presence. Of course, there are appropriate moments to share memories that make them laugh, but if you are feeling anxious about what to say, simply express your sympathy in as few words as possible, or don’t say anything. Instead, make brief eye contact with heartfelt compassion and hug them or reach out and hold their hand (if they like to be touched). And whatever you say, don’t defend God. He doesn’t need your help.
Father God, grant us your grace to be comfortable with silence and know when to speak and what to say when others need to hear our words of compassion and hope. Amen.
Rev. Gordon Green, M.Div., M.A. Counseling