Read 1 John 3:16-18
16 We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us. So we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters.17 If someone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need but shows no compassion—how can God’s love be in that person?
18 Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions. (NLT)
To love another person is the most difficult thing we can ever seek to do. Just about everything else in life is easier. To take just one example, how do we best love someone who has suffered a terrible loss—loss of a loved one, loss of health, loss of a job, loss of a dream, etc. etc.?
We hopefully know better than to assume we know exactly how they feel. Our own experience of loss might have some parallels, but each loss is unique. We will offer some consolation from our understanding of God and his Bible, but we will not resort to bible text band aids.
One person in grief may want one thing; another person might want something quite different. In any case, no one individual can meet every need of every broken-hearted person. We truly do need the wisdom of God, so a prerequisite for being any sort of comforter is some degree of closeness to God.
But ultimately it may be that grieving people need one thing above all. According to Jean Vanier, founder of the L’Arche community for the disabled, it is this: “Wounded people who have been broken by suffering and sickness ask for only one thing: a heart that loves and commits itself to them, a heart full of hope for them.”
So simple, so hard.