When we go through trials, we want to find the right kind of help. As followers of Christ, we want to have help from someone who is a mature believer. This is a good thing because we should seek help from someone who can point us to the scriptures. The problem is, even a mature believer can be unhelpful by using the scriptures too trivially or taking them out of context. We must be careful with the scriptures in order to be helpful to others.
Samantha loves to help people. She feels she knows the scriptures well enough to be able to come along side another and give hope. As she listens to the one who needs help, her mind is racing. She is thinking of a verse or something about God that she can impart to the one needing help. Samantha wants to appear as if she has all the answers to the problems of the world, or at least look impressive to her friend. The thing is, she really thinks she is helping. After all, isn’t the Bible the place to go for help? Some of the things Samantha may say are actually true but not actually helpful.
“God works all things out for good.”
“Rejoice in the Lord always!”
“God is Sovereign.”
“God is faithful.”
Every one of the statements above are true but when someone is hurting greatly, they are not always helpful. It becomes very flippant in a difficult situation for someone to say, “Oh well, God is sovereign.” That is not helpful to the one who is hurting. These truths can certainly be used but there has to be more. To make these statements and then smile as if everything is going to be okay doesn’t make things okay.
Harriet know these truths about God and she know scriptures to back them up. However, this is not where Harriet begins. She starts with entering into the upset the trial has caused her friend. She remembers how Jesus entered into the grief of the people over Lazarus’ death. Jesus wept even though he knew he was going to raise Lazarus from the dead. He entered into the pain and suffering of Mary, Martha, and the others who were walking with him on the way to the tomb. We can’t be any help until we enter into the suffering.
Harriet reaches for her friend’s hand and holds it as she listens to the pain she is going through. She may just hold her friend and pray for her. Harriet is building a bridge of trust with her friend which will lead to being able to share the truths of God with her. There will be more acceptance of these truths because the suffering one knows she is loved.
“Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.” Romans 12:15
It is easier to rejoice with someone than to weep with them, but we are called to do both. If we humble ourselves to enter into the suffering, then our minds are not consumed with trying to have the right answers. Instead, we will find ourselves loving our friend well.
In conclusion, we are to study the scriptures to build up our knowledge of God, not for the purpose of being puffed up about what we know. The more we know about God, the more we’ll realize how compassionate and gentle he is. The truth is we should imitate him in ALL of our life which would include the help we give to others. Don’t use the word of God trivially or flippantly! Use it for the good and comfort of others!
“Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” Ephesians 5:1-2