Job rebukes Eliphaz in today’s Bible reading. Instead of being good friends and instead of listening to Job’s complaint and speaking words of comfort, Job’s friends simply assault him with their accusations. Job calls his friends, “miserable comforters”.
Paul repeatedly uses the word “comfort” in 2 Corinthians 1. He says that we should minister comfort to others as we have received comfort. In other words, the wounds we have received can (and should) be tools for ministering to those who are going through what you’ve been through. Who else is better equipped to speak into your mourning the death of a parent than someone else who has mourned the death of a parent? Who else is better equipped to speak into your grief of losing a child to miscarriage than someone who has suffered a miscarriage?
Have you been in a situation where you needed a dry shoulder to cry on or a comforting hug? Did someone come along, bringing comfort and sometimes just simply listen? That’s what a lot of people need when they’ve come to the end of themselves. Or did they come to you under the guise of bringing comfort and never listen? Never offer words of comfort? Only giving you platitudes of advice? Only talking at you instead of talking with you?
The next time you’re in a situation where someone expresses their grief or their sadness, don’t say anything for a while. Don’t offer rehearsed responses. Just be there. Just listen. When the time comes, express your concern. Express your willingness to enter their pain with them. Speak the truth in love. (Ephesians 4:15)