Romans 12:15 - Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.
In the distance you see someone you know coming your way.
They’ve been suffering with a disease that causes great pain for some time. In the flash of a moment, your thoughts are running quickly into your head wondering if they saw you or not. Maybe you could just turn down the next isle, and get away without them seeing you and having to talk to her.
In some ways you want to know how she’s doing, but then, what would you say? You’ve already talked to her before and stumbled through trying to find something to say when you can tell, just by looking at her, that she’s hurting.
Put yourself in their shoes. Think about how you would feel if people started avoiding you because they’re uncomfortable around you. They know, just by looking into your eyes, that you’re at a loss not knowing how you could help them.
Don’t turn away. What you don’t know is a few kind words to someone in pain can bring hope and a healing balm to the soul. Keep walking toward them. You may be the only person they see all day that wants to at least try to be there for them.
Here are some ideas on what you can say to a person who is suffering and what not to say on medium.com in their article, “Say This, Not That When Someone is Hurting,” such as don’t say, “I know what you’re going through,” because you can’t know what they’re feeling. Also, never use the words, “It could be worse.” It may be true, but it’s also thoughtless.
When you have a friend who is in pain, it can be difficult to know how to start a conversation. You may even try to avoid your friend for fear of making things worse. Reach out to your friend anyway. Just like the Bible verse above says, we are to rejoice when our friends rejoice and mourn with them when they mourn. Just being with your friend may be the greatest gift you can give them.
Karen Dalske is a freelance writer, public speaker, is active in her church and writes her blogs out of her own experiences of pain, illness and loss.