I want to share an extract from the latest chapter on the book I’m writing about healthy relationships. This one is about how we comfort people.—————–
Extracts from Chapter on ‘compassion and comfort’

Many of us don’t know how to comfort others. We don’t know what to do. We don’t know what to say.

We need to learn that sometimes the most powerful thing we can do is to be present in the silence with someone.

There’s a story in the Bible about a man called Job who endured some terrible suffering. His business was destroyed and he became bankrupt, his children were all killed, his body was ravaged with sickness and sores, and his wife told him that he may as well die. And when his close friends hear of what’s happened, they are moved by compassion and they go to see him to offer comfort. For a whole week they sit with him in the silence – they hold the grief and pain together. They know that there are no words. They behave like this for a whole week and then only get it wrong when they start to open their mouths to try to justify what has happened to Job.

So how do we comfort people? What does true comfort look like?

Comfort is more often than not – keeping your mouth shut, and your arms and heart open.

Comfort is weeping with those who weep.

Comfort is avoiding trite answers, being real about the mystery, but promising to remain present.

Comfort is more helpful when we express the struggle, rather than just expressing sympathy.

And notice something incredible that Paul says in 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 about comfort. God comforts us in our pain, so that we can comfort others. It’s one of the amazing ways that God redeems our suffering.

It’s never God’s will that you suffer. It’s never God’s will that those you love suffer. It’s not God’s will that you’re ill. It’s not God’s will that you’re struggling with work or finances. It’s not God’s will that your relationships broke down.

Yet, in the midst of it, He will comfort you if you reach out to Him and as you are comforted by Him and by others, you then are able to comfort those who will go through what you’ve been through. Because you understand it more than anyone else.

I’ve experienced this for myself in my own times of personal struggle and suffering. It’s truly a ‘wonder’ and beautiful thing.