If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.
~1 Corinthians 13:2
Growing up, I always had a hard time imagining Aunt Pearline as having to go through anything truly trying in her life. She had never been married, so she didn’t know what it was like to argue with a spouse. She had never had children, so she didn’t know what it was like to lose her temper with them. Yet now that I’m grown, I fully recognize that she was no Jesus. AP dealt with the same temptations, growth, trials, and tribulations that we all go through. The Bible says that there is “nothing new under the sun” (Eccl 1:9). There is no way my childhood understanding of AP was correct. She went through things just the same as we all do, she was not exempt.
One of AP’s very first entries talks about loving people through hard times. People who are hurting, confused, aching, and needing comfort. How do we love those people that are going through heartache that we simply can’t fathom, or can’t even begin to understand. I’m not even simply talking about those with horrific circumstances in their life, I am also referring to those that we would like to think actually make up their troubles simply for a past-time or something to do.
How do we love those people? In our own human nature it would be easy for us to comfort them by simply telling them what they want to hear. We could simply agree with them or “just listen” and justify our lack of credible advice by allowing them to unload on us and arguing that is what is best for them. But is it?
If we aren’t giving them truth, if we can’t be honest with them and use the Bible (TRUTH) as our guide, we are offering them nothing but a useless pile of words that will quench their thirst for a time that is very short. AP writes, “the only thing God said He would use to make you free is truth.” I believe we will never fail in offering the right encouragement to someone if we simply encourage them to do what the Bible says. There is no greater truth than God’s word. To some that may sound like a cop-out when dealing with great hurt, but isn’t it a greater cop-out to simply say nothing at all, and at times when we are at a loss for words to say, how much greater impact will we make if we speak the truth. There is power in it.