A word in season
noun [ mass noun ]
the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.
I’m thinking about how we all need different ‘words’ at different times. And if someone sincerely comes along and gives us a ‘word’ that is just not what we need – it can throw us into confusion.
But often, it isn’t that what they say is not worthwhile – it’s just that – it isn’t what we need at that particular time.
This can cause us to ‘throw the baby out with the bathwater’.
If I’m about to cross a very busy road to get to a shop before it closes, and the traffic lights will not change in my favour, and someone comes along and tells me: ‘Well actually the lights have been broken for a few days…’
That’s not a word I want to hear right now (as I watch the shutters going down on the windows of the shop across the busy road, in which I hope to obtain the essential light bulbs) – but it’s a word I need to hear.
So it’s the wrong word and the right word!
The person giving the word should be more sympathetic, empathetic, weeping with those who weep, touched by the feeling of your infirmity but they were none of these – they just passed on a relative fact.
If my memory serves me well – Billy Graham the evangelist – spoke once of someone who had a placard at a political rally that read: ‘My mind is already made up don’t bother me with facts.’
Sometimes what people say seems to have little empathy attached to it. But often that’s because they are not aware of how you are feeling, and therefore can’t be empathetic. In other words, they don’t know if empathy is required.
You will also find that some folks pore in a lot of empathetic adjectives, you hope are heartfelt.
But is it enough to move us on into a better place?
And there are those who can’t seem to articulate empathy. They are perhaps of a shy disposition and don’t find expression all that easy. Yet they will sit in silence with you and by just being there are speaking volumes.
It calls for an extra portion of resilience that we may not have, when folks are unaware of what we are going through, and say something, sometimes – that is just plain foolish.
Not only do they ‘seem’ to lack empathy, but now through their insensitivity we seem to have an extra weight placed on us, because of the content in what they said.
Truth is meant to be spoken in love. Many want the love but not the truth spoken. Some can handle the truth but can’t respond to the love.
Some speak truth but fail to realise it is not born out of true experience and is used as a sticking plaster solution for your ailment. ‘Oh I read it in a magazine…’. kind of advice.
None of us want to hit people with clichés – we would like to help, but what do we say? Especially in light of the fact that what works for one person may not for another.
1 John 3:18
My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.
Love not in word but in deed and truth…
OK – so an arm around the shoulder, seems to be a start. That’s a deed.
When it comes to the truth they need, we need wisdom from above.
When it comes to words we all differ in our preferences.
Some words given, can encourage us to continue in the pity party we are in. Other words give us a task we just can’t seem to respond to.
‘Give yourself a shake!’ – we’ve heard that one – right?
That’s an example of a word we need to hear but can’t appreciate, as it seems so empty, when we are in the doldrums of one kind or another.
Well there’s ‘a whole lot of shakin’ goin’ on’ according to Jerry Lee Lewis. And maybe listening or watching him perform might be just what we need?☺️
Then again Bob Dylan might sing to us: ‘Don’t fall
apart on me tonight…’
Thanks Bob – I won’t.
‘Edification, exhortation and comfort’ are words of prophesy that the Bible sanctions. Throughout the Bible we are exhorted to hear God’s voice and not man’s only. There is an imaginary scale for this that goes, let’s say from 0 to 100.
0 would be:
“Don’t talk to me about your god, you are hearing your own thoughts elevated to a place of divinity by your own imagination’
100 would be:
(AMPC translation of the bible) Hebrews 11/5:
Because of faith Enoch was caught up and transferred to heaven, so that he did not have a glimpse of death; and he was not found, because God had translated him. For even before he was taken to heaven, he received testimony [still on record] that he had pleased and been satisfactory to God.
Put this together with these next verses:
But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
Enoch who had great faith – got it by hearing the voice (word) of God.
In the midst of our ‘debate’ about finding comfort in times of trial or affliction, (empathy conveyed or not) when ‘vain is the help of man’ who doesn’t know what to do to help us in our pain – let us try to listen to the still small voice. (I Kings 19/12).
The voice of the One who absolutely knows exactly what it is to experience all truth. (He is the truth…)
The One who also went through every conceivably negative experience in existence – when He was cut off from His Father in heaven – and took sin and every horrible condition known to man upon Himself – on the cross.
The one who is ‘touched’ by our infirmities, and
encourages us to:
Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Enoch walked with God. He knew the difference between his own voice and God’s voice. So intimate was he in his relationship with The Lord, that he escaped death, He heard his way to heaven.
For us lesser mortals, we must start with the means God has provided to begin to hear His voice in order to stop our thoughts drowning-out His – in the clamour of our unbelief.
That means is of course the scriptures.
2 Timothy 3:16
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.
A runaway, driverless vehicle hurtling down a hill is not easy to stop. Have your own thoughts ever been like that?
At such a time it’s hard to hear anything – so you have my sympathy and empathy.
Might I suggest a starting point – coupled with asking Jesus how to do it – and incorporating the act of replacing our thoughts with God’s.
II Corinthians 10/5: …casting down imaginations, and every high thing that is exalted against the knowledge of God, and bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ;
To find the word we need right now – means asking, seeking, knocking – listening – responding.
What word do you need?
Having been given – having found – and Christ’s Life having been ‘opened up’ (spiritual revelation) to us in manifestation – we then let His thoughts become our thoughts.
A right word at the right time. Proverbs 25/11 – (MSG):-
The right word at the right time is like a custom-made piece of jewellery, And a wise friend’s timely reprimand is like a gold ring slipped on your finger.