What do you do when your Christian friends offend you with their attempts to empathize?
What do you do when your Christian friends offend you with their attempts to empathize? (Pixabay)

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I'll never forget the confusion I felt after my second miscarriage.

Words that were meant to comfort me rang hollow in my ears. Some of them just annoyed me and even hurt deeply.

"It must have been God's will."

"Your baby must have had a disability that would have prevented it from living anyway."

"Maybe God hasn't called you to be a mom."

"It was so early, at least you hadn't felt it move yet. That would have been a much more painful loss."

"Don't be so sad. You'll have another one."

I know the people who wrote these messages or hugged me and whispered them in my ear meant well. I don't think for a moment that any of them intended to hurt me in any way. They simply didn't understand my pain—or me.

In his book, Grieving with Hope, Samuel J. Hodges shares how to respond when people's words of healing actually hurt instead.

I found his advice so practical, because while some people might avoid us when we are hurting because they don't know what to say or do, there are others who will reach out to help us—.in ways we find painful or annoying.

They don't understand that their words and actions are missing the mark and not having the effect they had intended.

So, what do we do when people's comforting words hurt?

1. Have Grace: It would be very easy in our pain to pull away from those whom we know would never intentionally hurt us. We must embrace and extend God's grace, knowing that their intentions were for our healing.

2. Communicate: Sometimes our friends say or do hurtful things because they simply don't know better.

The most loving thing we can do in that situation is to communicate with them how their words or actions come across to others. If something they've said was truly inappropriate, lovingly share with them why what they said was hurtful and what they should say instead.

Perhaps a food train isn't at all helpful to your family, but donations to medical research would bring you a lot of comfort. Communicate this to your friends.

You can help your friends do and say those things that truly bring comfort and healing by extending grace to them and communicating with them what your needs are.

If you are walking through a time of great loss, i encourage you to purchase the book Grieving with Hope. I have found it very encouraging and healing as I walk through my own season of loss.

Rosilind Jukic, a Pacific Northwest native, is a missionary living in Croatia and married to her hero. Together they live in the country with their 2 active boys where she enjoys fruity candles and a hot cup of herbal tea on a blustery fall evening. She holds an associates of practical theology and is passionate about discipling and encouraging women. Her passion for writing led her to author a number of books. She is the author of A Little R & R where she encourages women to find contentment in what God created them to be. She can also be found at these other places on a regular basis. You can follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google +.

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