Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.
When Job’s close friends heard about the tragedies that had befallen Job, they ran to his side. For the first seven days, they comforted and supported him by sitting and weeping with him. They empathized by entering into his suffering and silently offering him the beautiful, comforting gift of their presence.
But after seven days, these friends started talking and trying to figure out why Job is suffering. In that process, they judge, blame, and give Job lots of bad advice. Although they love Job and have good intentions, they are emotionally and spiritually unhelpful to him. Likewise, when we hear about people’s difficult situations, we are often tempted to “fix the problem,” avoid the issue, attribute blame, or tell them what to do.
Instead, a more loving response would be to listen, pray, be present, available, and willing to “rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep.” Though we may not know what to do or say, we can choose to show up with love. Let’s make it a practice to always ask God for wisdom on how to care for our friends well.
Think of a friend who is going through a challenging situation. Pray for them and ask God how you can encourage them.