As a mom, I can’t think of anything more difficult than seeing my children and their families suffer or go through difficult times. I long to say just the right words to bring them comfort or give them sage advice that will help make everything ok again. I tend to commiserate when people are being mean or nasty to them, or situations become roadblocks to what I (or they) think should be unfolding in their lives.
I mentioned this in my last post, but also want to write a bit more about it. This is what I wrote:
“More recently (in the past week), I’ve become aware of my propensity to sympathize or commiserate with others without speaking the truth found in God’s Word. …not even just acknowledging the problems facing those I love, and then moving on to encouraging praise to God for His love for us and His sovereignty (both integral to who He is and our relationship with Him), but getting stuck in attitudes of frustration and victimization, resulting in complaining and speaking derogatorily about those people or institutions that are causing friends or family members grief.”
I recognized this area of failure in my life, I acknowledged my vulnerability, repented, and by God’s grace, hope to move into a strong position of being able to dynamically encourage, build up, and speak words of life to those who are struggling. That involves changing habits and “…bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:19).
It doesn’t mean spewing those all to oft repeated Christian phrases that tend to keep one a good, safe arm’s distance away emotionally or spiritually from another’s problems. I heard a term recently that struck a chord with me—if I knew who coined it, I would give them credit. “Cliché-anity”, that propensity to spew out “Christian” phrases without being in-tune to the Holy Spirit and what He may want to be communicating.
It is easy to say, “You just need to trust God,” or “…just trust Jesus”, instead of speaking the Word of God, which brings life. And it is so much easier to reach into my ample supply of Christian phrases than to still my heart and listen to what the Spirit hopes to communicate into difficult circumstances. Particularly, at those times when I just can’t get a sense of what God is saying, it is very straining to remain silent, trusting that the Holy Spirit is ministering life to my friend or family member’s heart.
Fact is, we do need to trust God.
“But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that Hi is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” (Hebrews 11:6)
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)
The thing is, without an intimate knowledge of all the dynamics of a person’s life, faith, relationship with God, and the particulars of any given situation, we are only equipped to give neatly packaged, religious advice. –but the Holy Spirit is capable of speaking life into a person’s heart!
Sometimes, I think when my immediate response is to say, “just trust God”, that I am also one who needs to listen to, and trust God!
Also, I’ve noticed with my propensity to speak comfort or commiserate with others about the injustices they’ve experienced, I often miss the Holy Spirit’s intention to speak correction or admonition. For instance, …
“Therefore, humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. Be sober, be vigilant, because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.” (1 Peter 5:6-9)
“But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things out not to be so. Does a spring send forth fresh water and bitter from the same opening?” (James 3:8-11)
It is so easy to speak evil against those who offend us or the ones we love! …and then turn around and say, “I’m trusting God,” or “just trust Jesus!” I know. I’ve done it!
I love this scripture…
“The Lord God has given Me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him who is weary. He awakens Me morning by morning. He awakens My ear to hear as the learned.” (Isaiah 50:4)
That is my prayer. …that I would learn from the Holy Spirit when to speak and what words to use, willing to let Jesus wake up my heart and my ears to perceive what He is saying. Daily, morning by morning, from one day to the next heeding His call to “Come to me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matthew 11:28-29)