In the church, we talk a lot about grace, but we often don’t extend it to one another. What I mean is that when someone’s going through some crazy stuff – like when my friend lost her job or my other friend lost his mom – we tend to push back with a bunch of happiness.
Nothing wrong with happiness, but sometimes people just want someone to feel what they’re feeling, or at least try to sympathize with them. In this video, I talk about how God’s given us the permission to be hurt and how we can use that to serve others when they’re hurting too.
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(1) I mentioned sympathizing with your children when they get hurt instead of brushing it off, as though it’s not legit. I think that’s an excellent place to start, with your kids, your spouse, your family.
(2) From there, you can extend it to friends in the church. Ask them how they’re doing, really. And then really listen. Don’t immediately offer advice. Just be an encourager, literally one who “comes along side.” Make them feel comfortable opening up to you. (You can even open up yourself to move the conversation in that direction.)
(3) Finally, you can practice this with people outside the church. Try to affirm what they’re feeling. This doesn’t mean allowing them to complain, but it does mean recognizing that what they’re struggling with is real. Feel what they feel, and then you can both move forward together.