Do you feel imprisoned? Are you locked up by grief and pain? Read the story of Job again and figure out which character you are.

Are you Job, completely bereft by loss?

Are you the friend who has all the answers but not the time to listen?

Are you the friend who throws scripture at a broken heart?

Are you the friend who comes in the guise of a comforter, but in actuality is the tormentor with your avalanche of pat answers.

It is easy to irritate the wound instead of being a soothing balm. Deep distress and despondency is not cured by moral and religious euphemisms. With these questions in mind, what are the characteristics of a true comforter?

1. Sympathize instead of patronize.

2. Take time to listen to the grief story.

3. Be truthful, willing to say, “I don’t understand.”

4. Speak to the case, and don’t wander.

Often, just crying with the one in pain is the best healer. When we pour out our tears to God, God pours in calming comfort and restful strength. The tearful eye is an eloquent pleader when the tongue is unable to utter a word.

If you are Job, persevere through your unimaginable pain, self-examine as he did, and emerge stronger in your vindicated, forged-in-fire integrity.

If you are one of the friends, do not add to the pain with reproach, but come with a commiserative heart ready to listen.


What type of friend are you?

Kind words are like dripping honey, sweetness on the tongue and health for the body.

Proverbs 16:24

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