It is a basic human instinct to show compassion. It’s part of what makes us who we are. In the last 3 years people of every faith and culture have seen my deep sorrow and reached out to me in an attempt to bring comfort and peace – human being to human being. I sincerely appreciate each and every one of them. Thank you so much, all of you.
There is one very persistent Witness who comes by my house from time to time. He saw the bumper sticker on my car that says “Someone I Love Was Murdered” and was drawn to my door in a sincere attempt to minister to my pain. Every time he sees that car in the driveway, he stops by to drop off literature and to read me some Bible verses. It’s very kind of him. I just wish he would take a little more thought in the scripture that he chooses. He is particularly fond of Matthew 7:11: “If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father who is in Heaven give good things to them that ask him?”
That’s a powerful statement, and I’m sure it is of great comfort in these economic times for those who are struggling to make ends meet, or who are unemployed. But, scripture isn’t “one size fits all”. You can’t really make every verse fit every situation and I just don’t think it’s a very good verse to quote to someone whose daughter-in-law is awaiting trial for killing her own children. (And, yes, he does know the story behind my bumper sticker – I told him the first time he asked.) It doesn’t address grief and the loss of a loved one, because God isn’t going to give them back to me in this life, no matter how much I pray to him. That’s not how it works. The love remains, but they are gone. And, while none of us is perfect (especially me), I have first hand experience of a truly evil parent. I don’t think I fall in the same category, with all my faults and shortcomings. That isn’t comforting – thinking of evil and a parent in the same thought. It makes me see things in my mind’s eye that I try very hard not to dwell on. Those are the things that haunt my dreams and make it difficult to sleep at night.
If the man was not sincere it would be different. He speaks from the heart and I’m sure his only wish is to help me. That makes it hard to say something like, “That’s not very comforting…in fact I find that verse very disturbing at this point in my grief process.” I don’t even know what his name is, and yet I can’t stand the thought of hurting his feelings. Is that stupid? Perhaps it’s just that having endured so much pain myself, I find it impossible to inflict any pain, real or imagined, on anyone else. His heart is in the right place, I’m sure. Isn’t it ironic that I want to take his Bible and find a better verse for him to use in trying to comfort me? To “minister” to him, in a way? Grief is very confusing, isn’t it? I’m not sure I’m ever going to be any good at it. There’s no logic or pattern. It’s messy. You don’t even feel the same way from one moment to the next. I don’t like it at all.