Thursday, October 27, 2011

Do NOT sympathize. Encourage!

Many women LOVE to be told "I know how you feel" or have people reassure them that what they are going through "is tough". It may be the case many times. And it does feel good to have someone understand what you are going through and agree with you on the difficulty of the matter. Sometimes we need that.

However, more than often it causes more harm than help. If done the wrong way. That is: "Oh gosh! I know what you mean. It is hard, people don't understand. The same happened to me when Sussy asked me to do all this things on top of taking care of my children and keeping the house clean. - I know it must be awful! who does these people think they are to tell you what to do? - They are wrong and can not ask so much from you! - You don't need to show excitement when you see them if you really didn't want to go there on the first place." You can add more of the same. I have used many of those lines and many more thousand times.

We tend to see things first with our feelings and then with reason (if lucky!). As Christians, we make the same mistakes. We see with our worldly eyes that tell us that "we deserve better".  Our worldly eyes (and hearts of flesh) keep saying that we do not need advice, that we know it all - and if not, we can figure it out by playing martyr on "how tough it is"(you may not even realize that that is what you are doing).

I am not denying the difficulty of life and different circumstances. I know there are things and stages in life that are harder than others and that we feel overwhelmed. But that is why we have Jesus!! our godly eyes should take us back to the cross!! THAT WAS TOUGH!!! Jesus was the only one who "deserved better". He was the only one who did not have to smile if he did not want to. He was the one who did not need ANY kind of advice. He was the only one who could figure things out on his own!! He was the real martyr. YET, he did not behave as such. He was surrounded by people- He did not have his "personal space" or "privacy". He did not hesitate to smile and hug others. He showed loved 24/7. He obeyed his mother and I am sure he listened to her advice (which, she being a woman, she inevitability might have given him some!). He was a martyr and yet did not behave or thought of himself as such.

As wives many times we can be dangerous to our husbands if we are not careful. We can sympathize too much. Maybe your husband doesn't like the people in your small group and wants to leave because of that. Well, that is his given earthly right. You do not have to hang out with people you do not enjoy being around. However, we need to be wise and encourage him to look inside his heart and find why he doesn't like them. Make him think about his attitudes. Maybe he hasn't even tried to start a conversation with that person(s). How can he not like somebody he doesn't really know? Avoid speaking against people he doesn't like. In fact, speak kindly of them. Help him look at them through Jesus' eyes. I am sure Jesus could have found MANY excuses not to like somebody.

Maybe your husband is holding grudges against somebody. Maybe against his boss, his parents, his siblings, the neighbor. I don't know. The bible encourages us to step forward and forgive or ask for forgiveness, even when it is NOT our fault. Do not sympathize with your husband, encourage him to seek reconciliation. It may take that you go with him as moral support. Encourage him to talk about those things. Guys can be very stubborn and try to "just forget about it". That is pride mixed with cowardice. Encourage him with loving words, do not keep saying "I know it is hard". You already said it many times, and he knows it very well. Help him gather the strength instead and face it.

Last but not least, do not just encourage him with words, do it with your actions. Show him that it is not the end of the world. Life goes on. Everybody has problems, but he has Jesus! Love him dearly. Pray for him, pray with him. Encourage him!!


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