Share Hugs, Not Advice
I saw the tears of the oppressed—and they have no comforter. Ecclesiastes 4:1, NIV
During one of our conferences I (Teresa) met with a woman who was going through a time when she was in need of comfort from her friends. Darla told me how hurt she was by the breakup with her boyfriend. He had treated her badly, yet she somehow wanted to be with him.
When I asked if she had a close friend to share her hurt with or a family member she could confide in, Darla just sighed and said, "All I get is advice, and some of the advice hurts more than the breakup. Advice like, 'Just dump him: and 'Don't you dare crawl back to him."
It saddened me that Darla was hurting, particularly since she was pretty much going it alone.
What she needed more than advice was to be comforted. Darla needed someone to listen to her, talk with her, and put an arm around her.
I gently told her how sorry I was that her friends didn't understand her pain or her need to have someone listen without trying to give advice. I held her hand and prayed for God to continue to bring people into her life who would be able to give her true comfort. Darla hugged me on the way out.
We must learn to recognize when people around us need comfort. We must not only recognize the need, but we must be willing to minister to them. People need comfort when they've been rejected or disappointed, when they are physically ill, when they are under stress, when they are unemployed, or when they've lost a loved one or endured other tragedy.
Comfort is so simple, yet so profound. It is often needed, but rarely shared. We should all strive to be givers of comfort, and we should start with our spouses.
At what times in your spouse's life might he or she be in especially acute need for comfort?
God, help me to recognize times when my spouse might need comfort.