PainToday’s Word: ‘Pain’ as in… entering our own pain allows us to enter into other’s pain.

The next time you’re playing Trivial Pursuit and you get the question, “What’s the shortest verse in the bible?” You’ll know the answer, right?

In most English versions it’s “Jesus wept.” But this is certainly anything but trivial. There’s far more going on here than simply a rabbi weeping over the death of a dear friend. This is a profound teaching moment about what it means to be honest about pain and suffering, about brokenness.

The story that gives us this poignant look into the heartache which drove Jesus to tears, and probably to his knees, was the death of his friend Lazarus (in John 11). What does it mean to be a community of faith that weeps? As long as most of the human race is dealing with at least one heartache a day, we might want to understand this.

One of the core insights is that to be a community that’s able to weep with others, we need to be able to weep ourselves. If I’m not able to be in touch with, or express my own grief, I’m not going to be any help to you. I can’t enter into the honesty of the brokenness of in your life if I’m not honest with my own brokenness.

In the midst of all that breaks our hearts and causes us to weep, we say the darnedest things, don’t we? When trying to console someone whose lost a loved one, why would we say, “Well, they’re better off now!” or “God needed another ‘fisherman, grandparent, or baseball fan in heaven!”

Really? Does God look around and think, “You know, we could sure use someone who loves dogs ‘up here’ because all dogs go to heaven!”

If God could create the Grand Canyon, then certainly God is more creative than that.

The truth is, we say these things because we’re uncomfortable with weeping and grief.

How about you? What keeps you from walking deeply into another’s pain? Why is grief difficult to share?


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