It Really Isn’t About the Nail. Really
There's a rather satiric video floating around the internet of a couple having a conversation. The woman has a nail sticking out of her forehead. Have you seen it? She's telling her husband how the nail makes her feel and he tries tentatively suggesting that she remove it. She immediately shuts him down. She doesn't want him to tell her what to do, she just wants him to listen to her talk about her feelings. To be honest, when I saw this it really rubbed me the wrong way. I was actually a little surprised that a woman was willing to make such a video. If her solution were really that obvious she would know what to do to solve her problem. No offense, guys, really. I'm not trying to make a statement about men vs women. I want to say something about compassion.
Back when I saw the video I'd been reading Kay Warren's book about joy. One chapter was about nurturing joy in others. She pointed out that we feel frustrated when we don't feel heard. Have you ever tried to tell someone about a problem and they minimized the issue instead of acknowledging how you feel about it? I'm not saying people should be able to whine and complain all the time, I just think that we should be empathetic before offering a lot of “well, if you would just...” instructions and then walking away.
The main reason I think that this is true is because it's what Jesus did. Here's just one example: Jesus knew Lazarus was going to die. He waited until the man was already gone before He made His way over to Bethany where Lazarus had lived with his sisters and found the family grieving. They asked him why He hadn't come sooner. They cried. He cried. Jesus didn't tell them to calm down. That He had a plan all along, or why didn't they just trust Him in the first place. He knew that He was going to restore Lazarus to them, but before He did, he acknowledged their sadness and took it onto Himself as well. Why wait? Why not just jump in and fix it? Why would He have done such a thing as weep with them unless it really mattered? Jesus didn't lecture or scold. He validated their pain, even though He knew He was about to heal it.