Today, as I continued reading through Job, I was struck by two portions. The first was where Job’s triumphant statement that His redeemer lives. (Job 19:25-27.) In my opinion, this is one of the most powerful passages in scripture. We’ll talk about that passage tomorrow.
But for today, since we’ve been talking about listening, Job’s words, “How can your empty cliches comfort me?” pierced my heart! (Job 21:34) Cliches are over used easy answers. Have you ever been grieving, or struggling through a deep problem and someone, well meaning of course, tells you “Oh God ‘s going to work this all out.” That is an example of an empty cliche. It’s not that there’s not an element of truth to that statement, it’s that it’s empty because it is absent of empathy. The person who gives empty cliches hasn’t taken the time to make the hurting person feel “felt”. They brush aside the hurting person’s feelings. They don’t bother to feel the pain of the one hurting. One of my favorite Biblical examples of Jesus showing empathy is found in John 11:34. Jesus sees Mary and Martha weeping because their brother, Lazarus, has just died, Jesus knows that momentarily He will raise Lazarus back to life. Yet, knowing that He the Almighty God is going to make it all better, He stands there and weeps with them! I love that! The Almighty crawls into their suffering and weeps making Mary and Martha feel “felt.”
Think back over the last few weeks. Have you spoken an “empty cliche” to anyone? Or, think back to a time when you were suffering. Did any well meaning friend toss an “empty cliche’ your way? I want to hear from you. As we share our stories we can all learn from them and grow. Leave a comment on this particular entry and I will select one comment and send that person a Starbucks gift card for being willing to be honest.