Please stop and put on your spiritual spectacles before you sit and listen to your struggling friends. Listen and pray.

For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known. (1 Corinthians 13:12 ESV)

Mona the dog barked furiously at the back glass sliding doors. Hands deep in hot water washing dinner dishes, any attempt by me to hush her was pointless.

My husband, Don, having had quite enough of the dimwitted dog, made his way into the kitchen to see what had her all riled up.

It’s the neighbor’s calico,” I said, pushing a tendril of hair out of my eyes with a soapy finger. “Why don’t you put her outside so she can chase him off and finally shut up?”

That isn’t a domesticated anything,” his voice wavered.

Grabbing my glasses from next to the sink, I got a clearer vision of the cat that had been sitting in the hedge taunting our pup. Seeing a grown man approach the glass door, it rose up showing its full shape. The thing must have weighed almost a hundred pounds. Powerful legs carried it straight up the rocky embankment and into the mountain shrubs.

We both stood there speechless trying to make sense of what we just saw.

Often in life, we think we have a full understanding of a situation and love to spout off opinions and advice without having a clear picture of the truth. One of the privileges and pains of ministering to women is hearing their testimonies. The wounds women carry are heartbreaking, but adding insult to injuries is when well-meaning sisters in Christ come alongside with judgmental words and misinformed advice.

Please stop and put on your spiritual spectacles before you sit and listen to your struggling friends. Listen and pray. That is what they need most. God sees clearly their situation and we – even when we think we know – often don’t. Love on them, pray with them, support them but hold your tongues from giving Christian clichés or ‘spiritual correction’ unless you are filled with God’s peace and compelled in love to do so. If need be, direct them to pastoral care or a proven Christian counselor. I’ve learned the hard way that what we think we see, is often much more dangerous than we may know.

Father, it’s hard to see our sisters hurting and so often we struggle to find the right words to bring comfort or direction. Teach us to be silent when necessary and to know how to offer love and support without judgment.

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