Thursday, June 27, 2013

Jesus Says "Pity Parties Are Ok"

Alright, maybe that isn't an exact quote. ;)

After a conversation with a friend, I did an Internet search on what the Bible says about loyalty.  

One writer immediately cites Mark 12:31 - “Love your neighbor as yourself.”  That wasn’t my first inclination, but I wasn’t raised by relationship experts.  ;)  As much as I love relationships and I feel they are the crux of (basically) our entire purpose here on earth, I still have a lot to learn about them.

The writer has a point here.  Second commandment after loving your God - love your neighbor as yourself.  How loyal would you like people to be to you?  Uh, yeah.  That’s something to think about.

What about when someone is suffering through something and you aren’t seeing eye to eye on it?  Do we say, “Sorry, Charlie!  I don’t really have time for this!”  Should we attempt to shake some sense into them?  What if they have gotten themselves into something really thick and you are shaking your head in wonder...?

I live in a part of the country rich with a “suck-it-up” culture.  People around here say, “Quit your belly-achin’ and get back to work!”  It’s not pretty, but that’s how they feel.  It’s tough when you are legitimately going through something really crappy.  People don’t know how to respond.  Often they want you to just “get over it.”

The other day I was looking up ‘suffering’ in my Bible Concordance.  (The Internet wasn’t working so I had to use a book!!)  The book directed me to ‘affliction.’  I got to that part of the book and found a section within titled Duty to.  I was really surprised with what I found. 

It didn’t say, ‘fix it.’  
It didn’t say ‘reason with them.’  
It didn’t say ‘ignore.’  

The first word was pity.  The second was comfort.  It referenced sympathy and prayer and relieve and protect.  Not ‘solutions’ and ‘logic’ and ‘shoulder shrugging.’  

When we did a study on Job a while back, we found that God’s expectation for Job’s friends was just to be there for their friend.  He (God) was annoyed when they tried to explain God’s intentions.  He was not impressed when they tried to reason with Job.  He wanted them to comfort him and listen.  Be there for him and pray for him.  Loyalty. 

Should we agree with everything our friends and family say when they are in pain?  Should we lie to them?  No, I’m not suggesting that.  

But there is a time and a place for a pity party, and it’s ok to go there with someone who is hurting.  It’s ok to recognize a person’s emotions and validate those feelings and comfort them with prayer or just an “I hear you.  I’m so sorry you are hurting right now.” 

Our culture likes to tell people how they should feel.  But our God says that isn’t really our job.  The job he has given us is to love and comfort our neighbor.   

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.  For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.
2 Corinthians 1:3-5

Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.
Romans 12:15

Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.
Galatians 6:2

1 comment :

Thanks for joining the conversation!