2018-05-09 - Suffering Together
"Wailing aloud or sobbing" is how one should describe the word weep as used in the book of Romans 12:15(below). It comes from the Greek word klaio in Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance #2799. To experience or feel, usually pain, is how to describe the Greek word suffer in 1 Corinthians 12:26, also shown below (same source as weep #3958; pascho) . The idea, in Corinthians, is further explained in the notes of the Companion Bible (page 1717; 1990 edition) as “suffering together” (Greek: sumpascho).
When we love people as Christ loved them, when they mourn a loss, suffering together is what we are instructed to do. Although not everyone works through a loss in the same manner, I also do not imagine that I should take their loss lightly, nor do anything short of honoring the instructions given in those words. I should be diligent to follow the lead of the person dealing with sorrow, and sometimes that can take many forms. They may want to share stories of life, sit quietly and reflect on pain and be in your company, may need to cry, or perhaps need help with chores or other tasks. The goal should be to just be present, however it is needed. At various times in my life, I have felt and seen a loss that brought weeping and suffering. Sometimes people were considerate, and it felt like they were trying to lift me or others up, which is the definition of suffering together. Other times, not so much. I believe one of the worst things I have heard repeatedly, when I or someone else was dealing with sadness, was “they’re in a better place.” My first thought was “well, thanks for making me feel bad about missing someone who matters to me.” That does not embody the idea of suffering together, at all. I must agree with my Mom’s advice (likely the advice of many others too), “if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all!” Being supportive is realizing we cannot fix someone’s pain. We can only do whatever possible, to let them know we care deeply enough to do our best to help as needed, during the time they do not feel strong enough on their own. If it is good enough for Jesus, it’s good enough for me.
“Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with them who do weep.” (Romans 12:15)
All scripture references from King James Version (KJV) unless otherwise noted