Monday, March 2, 2020

Suffering ... Silently ... Secretly

By Jim Faughn

  • She may have just received some very bad news from the doctor.
  • He may have just lost his job.
  • They may have just lost a child (maybe even in the womb).
  • Hopes and dreams may have vanished into thin air.
  • A seemingly permanent separation has occurred between or among family members or friends.
  • The loss of a spouse, though not recent, still hurts, and the one who remains is still lonely.
  • The aging process is not going well at all.
  • Repeatedly, prayers are sent heavenward, but a spouse, a sibling, a child, or a grandchild remains
  • unsaved or unfaithful.
He or she struggles with sin. Surrender has never been seen as an option, but Satan seems to win more than his share of battles. Hopelessness has not been experienced, but there are times when a feeling of helplessness creeps in.

  • The loss of a parent still has left a void --- even years after the loss has occurred.
  • An insensitive remark or a thoughtless act has cut to the very core.
  • Accusations have been made that, though far from true, are believed by some.
What do all of these people have in common?
    We see one or more of them every day. We work with them; we go to school with them; we run into
them in restaurants, malls, gas stations, banks, and other places of business; and we worship with them every Sunday.
    Their hurts, fears,
 insecurities, etc. may be displayed to us in all sorts of different ways. They may
come across as surly. They may appear to be withdrawn. They may put their “smiley face mask” on and hide behind it. They may try all sorts of things, but they cannot hide from themselves the fact that they hurt.
    While they will probably never ask, the fact is that they need a friend, a kind word, some companionship, and somebody to try to understand and help, if at all possible. They may be doing a good job of keeping it a secret and they may be silent about it, but they are suffering.
    Since they do such a good job of keeping their hurts to themselves, how will I identify the ones who
need a kind word, a pat on the back, a listening ear, or some of my time and effort? I’m not sure I have the answer to that, but I think I have a plan that might help.
    How about being kind, compassionate, considerate, and helpful to everybody? It surely can’t hurt, and
it just might help more than we can ever imagine.

Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ (Gal. 6:2 ESV)

- Jim Faughn, a retired preacher, serves as an elder for the Central Church of Christ in Paducah KY.  He may be contacted through the congregation's website:

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