It seems to be the nature of humans to listen with an ear to respond rather than an ear to hear.
I’ve done it myself.
Jumped right in with all kinds of suggestions designed to “fix” someone else’s problem.
Or worse, heaped my own experience with something more or less (often less) similar onto an already overburdened heart.
I hate that tendency in myself and I’m working hard to try to change it.
Those who feel compelled to just say SOMETHING often bombard grievers with platitudes, comparisons to their own grief or just empty, frivolous words that require we either stand there dumbfounded or find a gracious way to exit the conversation.
It’s especially painful for a broken heart when a well-meaning someone decides THIS is the moment for a theology lesson.
“God has something planned for you in this” or “God will use this for good”. (Romans 8:28-29)
“We don’t grieve as those without hope!” ( I Thessalonians 4:13)
“All our days are numbered.” (Psalm 139:16)
I get it-death is a heavy subject and the death of a child isn’t something anyone wants to talk about, contemplate or be forced to wrestle with. So it’s often easier to simply say something-anything-do your duty and walk away.
But it is hardly helpful.
Deep grief as a result of unbearable loss is not a teaching moment.
It’s an opportunity to listen well, think carefully about if or when you need to say anything and simply offer compassionate companionship to a broken heart.
Grieving felt hardly like the time for being taught, at least initially. Early grief was my time for pulling out of my past those truths that I had already learned — out of my ‘basement — so that I could begin to assemble them together into something even more meaningful to me than before. It was the time for understanding that even though I had always believed in heaven, it now looked to my perceptions to be more real than this world. It was the time when, even though I already believed in God’s control of the world, I now felt dependent upon him being sovereign over it for all my hopes. It was the time for realizing that even though I already believed that Christ conquered death, I now longed to see death die.Lianna Davis, Made for a Different Land