“Job's friends were great counselors,” Tullian Tchividjian observes, “until they opened their mouth.”
Tchividjian sat down with Paul Tripp and Dave Furman to discuss things you shouldn't to say to a person in pain—many of which they've learned the hard way.
“I've made the mistake of comparing one person's pain to someone else's,” recalls Furman, pastor of Redeemer Church of Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. Though perhaps well intentioned, this approach diminishes the real struggle before your eyes and leaves the person to conclude you “have no idea what I'm going through.” Along similar lines, Tripp adds that it's remarkably unhelpful to tell someone, “You will never suffer as much as Jesus did.” To the person who suffers this comment sounds like Jesus set the bar so high that no one else's pain matters.
“The mandatory happiness we require inside the church often perpetuates the pain people feel,” says Tchividjian, pastor of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. “But we have a faith that actually embraces suffering, that looks it square in the face and is realistic about it. The idea that God suffers for us and with us is what sets Christianity apart.”
Watch the full seven-minute video to see these pastors discuss blunders they've made, comforting their kids, awkward silence, and more.