How to Lessen Your Friend's Pain
“Laugh with your happy friends when they’re happy; share tears when they’re down.” (Romans 12:15, The Message)
There’s something interesting about pain and joy. Whenever you share a joy, it gets doubled. But it’s the opposite with pain. When you share a pain, it’s halved.
So when your friends are going through a crisis, they need you to help carry the load and, thus, lessen the pain.
Sharing your friend’s pain is not the same as sympathy. Sympathy says, “I’m sorry you hurt.” People don’t need your sympathy. They need your empathy. Empathy says, “I hurt with you.” Sympathy stands at a distance. Empathy draws close.
The ultimate form of love is compassion. Compassion says, “I’ll do anything I can to stop your hurt.”
When you read the Bible, you’ll find that Jesus was repeatedly moved with compassion. He shared in people’s hurt. And, to stop others’ hurt, he was willing to do whatever he could, including going to the cross. That’s right -- he was willing to die to stop your hurt. That’s compassion.
The Bible says in Romans 12:15, “Laugh with your happy friends when they’re happy; share tears when they’re down” (The Message).
What do friends do for each other? They show up. And when they show up and find their friend is sad, sometimes they sit and cry with that friend -- they weep with those who weep.
Friends don’t give pious platitudes. They don’t give advice when someone isn’t ready for it. They don’t try to talk a friend out of his pain. They don’t promise everything will be okay.
They just show up, shut up, and hurt with their friend. And in doing so, they lessen the pain and show the compassion of Christ.
Talk It Over
Make a list of times in the Bible that Jesus showed compassion. What does this teach us?
How has someone shown the compassion of Christ to you or to someone you know?
Who do you know who is hurting today? How can you show compassion to that person?
This devotional © 2021 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.