One of the many spiritually rich concepts that the counseling program has instilled in me is the importance of asking the hard questions, or, the questions that you might be afraid to ask. Some don't have any reservations about this, but some, like me, used to think it was the norm. Let me explain what I mean.
Last week, Brad and I had a conversation. I wondered why a couple of particular people had not checked up on or asked how someone was doing (this particular person had gone through a rough time recently). He said, "Maybe they don't want to bring up something painful." Then, in a session last night, a client said that she didn't want to ask her cousin (who had been through something traumatic) how she was doing for fear that it might upset her. The similarity in these two conversations led me to think, "Why are we so afraid to ask the hard questions?" Do we really think that people forget their struggles and crises when we stay silent? Do you? No. Chances are, you bringing up a hard topic is not going to make that particular issue any more difficult to wrestle with. If that were so, Biblical accountability would never happen. Yes, personal issues are hard to talk about, but, as the body of Christ, we are called to help each other bear life's burdens. We comfort people with the comfort that He has given to us. We empathize. We help. We become cheerleaders. We become sounding boards.
I confess that, in the past, I have been so guilty of this. I stayed silent because I thought that I didn't know what to say or I was afraid of the negative emotion that the other might exhibit. Summed up: I was avoiding what could possible be a negative experience. I was chicken. I was missing opportunities to minister and show support to others who needed it (whether they showed it or not).
If you are reading this and are one with whom I have missed such an opportunity, I am so sorry.
That is my challenge for you. Don't be afraid to ask the silent suffering how they are, how you can pray, or how you can help. Don't let doubts and insecurity push you away from saying, "I'm so sorry." It's not doing anybody any favors, except maybe that you get to stay in your comfort zone. Does Christ really ever call us to stay there?