28 Nov “Rejoicing and Mourning” by Kitty Holt
Upon asking an acquaintance if she would like to accompany me to a class on Christianity, her response surprised me. She said she was interested, but her husband didn’t like her going out in the evening. I immediately started making inner judgments about what kind of guy her husband must be. As if reading my mind, she informed me that he was very sick and needed her home at night to take care of him. I felt bad for my hasty judgment. Thus began years of conversation and prayer for her husband, who eventually succumbed to his illness.
While walking past a colleague, my “good morning” was met with a grunt. I wondered why she was being rude, but decided instead to pray for her. Turns out she was dealing with a death in the family.
Many years ago, I lost two unborn children. In the months following, the tears sometimes flowed when I saw or held a baby, or when the expected due dates came and went with no baby. For those not knowing what was on my mind, I am sure my behavior was a bit odd.
What the above stories have in common is that we never know what someone is going through. I have learned (from making many a mistake) to try to reserve judgment when people don’t behave in an expected manner, and have also learned that one of the most loving things we can do when someone is having a hard time is to follow Paul’s advice in Romans 12:15:
We are now in the midst of what is called the most wonderful time of the year. And, it is- the Lord Jesus Christ came in human form to save us from our sins. There is no greater gift. But, for many, the joy and festivities of the season only magnify their grief. Acknowledging their grief and being there for them is one of the most thoughtful gifts we can give.