Sharing the burden of their sorrows

By Dave Henning / December 11, 2017

“When we mourn with others , we share the burden of their sorrows.  Nothing has changed.  Nothing’s been fixed.  No problem has been solved — except this.  They are no longer alone in their mourning.  And that changes everything.”- John Ortberg

As John Ortberg continues Chapter 6 of I’d Like You More . . . , he revisits Paul’s command to mourn with those who mourn.  John humorously, yet poignantly notes, that the apostle Paul doesn’t say:

  • “Give advice to those who mourn.”
  • “Remind those who mourn that they are supposed to triumph through the Resurrection, so their sadness must indicate a lack of faith.”
  • Explain to those who mourn that God always has a good reason for whatever happens, so they should just trust him.
  • “Fix those who mourn.”

In fact, the author adds, tears define one of the great mysteries of human existence.  Most noteworthy, tears = one of God’s most brilliant inventions.  Because tears activate intimacy, show our vulnerability.  As poet Robert Herrick observes, “Tears are the noble language of the eye.”

And when other people allow you to grieve with them, they turn into safe harbors for us.  Nineteenth-century novelist Dinah Craik once explained:

“Oh the comfort — the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person — having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words, but pouring them all right out, just as they are, chaff and grain together; certain that a faithful hand will take and sift them, keep what is worth keeping, and they with the breath of kindness, blow the rest away.”

In conclusion, Pastor Ortberg states that psychologist Paul Eckman describes what he calls “display rules” for managing emotions.  Those rules reflect unspoken guidelines about how much emotion we display to others.  However, God concerns Himself with only one display rule – that we bring our whole self, our real self, to Him.

To0day’s question: What opportunities has God given you to grieve with others, sharing the burden of their sorrows?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “When we pray our honest feelings”

About the author

Dave Henning

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