Topic: You Can’t Talk People Out of Their Pain
“Then they sat on the ground with him for seven days and nights. No one said a word to Job, for they saw that his suffering was too great for words.” Job 2:13 (NLT)
If you’re always in a hurry, then you’re never going to be a great listener.
To have great conversations, you start by looking with love at the other person, but then you must invest as much time as needed. Why? Because you can’t listen well in a hurry. Great listening takes time.
Job was a wealthy man who lost virtually everything, including his money, health, and even his children. “When three of Job’s friends heard of the tragedy he had suffered, they got together and traveled from their homes to comfort and console him . . . Then they sat on the ground with him for seven days and nights. No one said a word to Job, for they saw that his suffering was too great for words” (Job 2:11, 13 NLT).
This is called the ministry of presence. When you’re ministering to someone in pain, you must remember this: The deeper the pain, the fewer words you use. If somebody’s having a bad hair day, then you can talk about it for 30 minutes. But if that person has a major crisis, talking about it for a long time is probably not going to help.
A lot of people don’t know how to help someone who is in crisis. They don’t know what to say.
The truth is that you don’t need to say anything. Just show up and shut up. You can’t talk people out of their pain. Some pain is beyond words. When it’s the right time, your hurting friend will say something. When it’s the right time, then you’ll be able to say something too.
This kind of investment takes time. Notice how many days Job’s friends sat on the ground with him: seven. Do you have anybody in your life who’d sit on the ground with you for seven days without saying anything? That takes a very mature person and a true friend.
If you want to be that kind of friend, then you have to be willing to sacrifice so that you can give people your love, attention, and presence—as much as they need.
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