Recently Lauren Scienski, the pastoral elder over the single moms life group, wrote a compelling post on Facebook that got a great response. After reading it, I felt led to write a follow up comment to expand on her idea in the realm of my pastoral experience. I have reposted it here for future reference and encouragement!
PASTOR LAUREN’S POST
There’s a saying that states, “misery loves company.” As much as that’s true, I choose to not take part. I don’t want to be invited to your misery, instead I invite you to have joy unspeakable regardless of circumstances and situations. I invite you to take part in the God kind of life full of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. I invite you to let go of your bitterness, anger, and self-pity and enjoy life and life to the fullest!!!
FROM MY PERSONAL EXPERIENCE
Often times the people I know who suffer from “pity patty parties” and “misery” will say something along the lines of… “Doesn’t the Bible teach to “mourn with those who mourn” and “bear each others burden?” Yes. However, to mourn and be miserable biblically speaking are two different things. Jesus wept for Lazarus, but He didn’t become hopeless. Despite His tears He said, “I am the resurrection and the life!” (John 11:25)
Also, it is true there are real burdens (hardships) in life that friends should help each other carry- like finance troubles, single parenting, sickness, etc. However, biblically speaking, we should help our friends bring their burdens to Jesus and exchange them for His because He said, “My yoke is easy and my load is light.” (Matthew 11:30)
Therefore, in both cases we can truly help people by teaching them to find joy in Christ and overcome their troubles. To not help people in this way would be unloving- even harmful to their life and destiny. So the most loving thing we can do for people stuck in the pit of dispair is to encourage them to “rejoice in the Lord always and again I say rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4) The people I have seen recover the best from trials, suffering, and loss are those who refused to be made a victim and lived in the victory of JESUS!
Lastly, let those in despair say, “I am not brokenhearted, I am beautifully healed. I am not in ashes, I am crowned with beauty. I will not live in mourning, but I will live in joy. I will not wear the garment of despair, I will daily wear the garment of praise. In Jesus’ name- AMEN!”
Isaiah 61:1,3, “The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me because the Lord has anointed me to… provide for those who grieve in Zion— to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.”