I meet lots of people in my line of work and in the work with our non-profit ministry to families and I am always amazed when someone shares with me the struggles they or members of their family are going through. No one and no family is immune from trials and tribulations, some are just better at hiding what is going on behind closed doors.
Bearing and Sharing the Burden
Personal and family trials are difficult and are very hard to deal with on your own, sharing your struggles with another person can lighten the load significantly. Sometimes it is just helpful to share your difficulties with someone else who will
listen and tell you they are praying for you. Many times, it is not that you are looking for someone to fix it or provide the perfect advice, you may just need to tell someone how you feel and how much you are hurting. We should do this in prayer also and pour out our sorrows to Jesus. He always listens and will answer our prayer for consolation. The situation may not change immediately, but many times we will feel the weight of the situation to be lighter or perhaps we are strengthened and therefore able to shoulder the load easier.
Not every trial can or should be shared with every person we meet. I suppose this goes without saying, but there is such a thing as sharing too much information with someone whom we just don’t know well enough. When we get to know someone, we gradually let them get to know us and as trust is built, we may share more intimate details about our lives and our struggles. Even Jesus himself didn’t just come out and tell everyone he met everything about himself and his mission. When we share our struggles with someone, we should do it with caution. If someone doesn’t know us well enough, they could draw incorrect conclusions about the situation or feel awkward and avoid interacting with us in the future simply to avoid that awkward feeling.
Following the Spirit
With all this being said, we must follow our conscience and ask God to guide our interactions with others. It is healthy and good to have confidants, people with whom we can share our deeply personal struggles, who will build us up when we need it and support us through the dark valleys. There is a time and a place for everyone to share their struggles, and if you are on the receiving end, consider yourself blessed that someone trusted you enough to invite you to help them bear the cross that they have been given.
Over the past several weeks, I have read some great articles speaking about very personal struggles. These authors felt called to write some very personal articles and share them with the world. Some of these authors are anonymous, others not, and that really doesn’t matter, the struggle and pain they write about is real. By sharing these stories with others, they may help someone who is also hurting be comforted and consoled knowing that they are not alone and that there is hope.
- Sexual Addiction by Devin Rose
- Homosexuality – Anonymous
- Mental Illness – Anonymous
- Abortion – Anonymous
- Special Needs Children – Molly
- Addictions – Catholic Alcoholic
- Marital Infidelity – Greg and Julie Alexander
You never really know what someone is going through, so when someone is rude to you, cuts you off in traffic, treats you like dirt or doesn’t call you back, pray for them. Ask God to bless them and provide whatever they need at this time in their lives. While our human gut reaction may compel us to be mad and get back at someone, the better response is to love the one who has been less than kind to us. They may be one of the authors above who is suffering with a great cross in their lives and the weight of the burden just got too heavy and God put you in their path to receive an outward sign of their suffering. You never know, if you respond to their unkind words with kindness you may help them to get past their current difficulty.
Empathy is simply amazing, it takes the focus off of you and puts it onto another person and their needs. It is so easy to do, yet so difficult to desire to do. Consider making this your Lenten resolution, show empathy to others, especially the ones who make life the most difficult for you. Be the face of Jesus for them, love them like Jesus loves them and make the world a better place.
About the Author:Allen Hébert is a Senior Solutions Engineer in the Information Technology Industry. Allen and his wife Denae, have been married for over 31 years and they have been blessed with nine children. Allen enjoys swimming, driving the family RV and the great outdoors.