O.K. so he beats her and she never tells anyone because... why? Because her husband is a deacon, that's why? Or.. he is addicted to online pornography and she doesn't know who to turn to. Why? Because her husband is the pastor, that's why. He doesn't provide for the family and he just expects her and their children to "stop complaining." But she never tells anyone. Why? Because his father is the Mayor, that's why? He has had a couple of affairs... and truth is.. so has she. They just act like they have a happy marriage. Why? Because they have five children.. that's why.
And so.. you become the friend this woman "confides" in. And you are not a professional anything. You're just a good friend. And you want to comfort her. But you don't know how. Been there. Done that. Here's what I've learned (through trial and much error) about giving comfort to someone who is in deep, deep need of the comfort of the Lord.
First...our key passage of Scripture for "The Comfort Project" is:
"All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He
comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When
they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has
given us." 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 (NLT)
The best kind of comfort to give someone in pain is the comfort you yourself have received. When you can say, "I know what you are talking about" and then let that friend know that GOD WAS THERE.. FOR YOU...WHEN IT FELT LIKE YOU HAD NO ONE WHO UNDERSTOOD. But what if you husband never beat you? or is addicted to porn? or has had an affair? Can you still be a comforting friend?
Well.. of course. Ponder on this:
You are a friend. A friend loves at all times. (Proverbs 17:17) and speaks the truth with a motive of love. (Ephesians 4:15) Sometimes the truth may hurt, but The Bible also teaches that "Wounds from a sincere friend are better than many kisses from an enemy." (Proverbs 27:6) It doesn't mean that we are to go around wounding a friend who is already wounded because we are calling it the truth. It means that we say things like:
"This is a serious problem and needs to be dealt with. You need to speak to someone in spiritual authority. You cannot handle this by yourself." And you stick to your guns.. so to speak. You don't just sit there and let her complain about how horrible her husband is, or how desperately in love she is with the guy she is committing adultery with. You keep reminding her that The Body of Christ is the place with the answer. Maybe the answer will be to get professional help. But just continue to speak the TRUTH: "I am not someone who is equipped with the wisdom to know what to do in this situation..." and speaking of wisdom...
You pray with and for that friend. The Bible reminds us that when we don't know what to do when we are in a trial.. we can ask God for wisdom and He will give it to us. (James 4:5) You and I don't have the wisdom in ourselves to know what to tell a friend in a desperate situation, but God PROMISES to give her the wisdom she needs without finding any fault or reminding her how she got in to this situation. When we don't know what TO DO.. God will send us the wisdom we need IF we ask Him for it.. and if we TRULY want to do what HIS WISDOM tells us to.... We may not know what to do but it doesn't take a genius to figure out what we should NOT DO.
You do not condone sin. If a woman's husband beats her, and she decides to find comfort in another man... she is sinning. There is NEVER a justification for sin. EVER. If a woman's husband has made her feel like garbage because he looks at online pornography... and so she justifies her rage and anger toward him.. the anger and rage will destroy her as much as the pornography will eventually destroy her husband's ability to walk in the Light. If you LOVE YOUR FRIEND.. you will tell her this.
God is not heartless and without compassion. God understands the reason WHY someone has been driven to the point of just wanting human comfort. He understands our weakness.. But He never condones sin.
If you friend is having an affair... or her husband is... it needs to be brought in to the light. Especially if they are calling themselves followers of Jesus.
Should YOU be the one who exposes it? I doubt it.
But you need to keep telling her the same thing: Anything hidden in the darkness will continue to have power over her. Only walking "in the light as HE is in the light" brings us peace.
Comfort your friend by telling her the ultimate truth: God sees her situation. God alone has the POWER TO CHANGE IT. It didn't take a day to get IN TO the situation and it won't change in one day. But God will hear every desperate prayer. And HE WILL SEND THE COMFORT FROM HEAVEN ITSELF.
I love you all. And thank you for signing up to receive this via email. (Upper right corner.)
And please, if you have a story you'd like to share about how God gave you comfort send it to me at: firstname.lastname@example.org