11 Finally, brothers, rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you.
2 Corinthians 13:11
I have four kids. And each one of them responds to pain in their own unique ways. Some have higher pain tolerances than others. I get to be the go-to person for hugs, cuddles, band-aids and sympathy. This does not come natural to me. When I was growing up if there was blood, it wasn’t a big deal. I’ve had to learn how to comfort my children when they get hurt while at the same time not coddling or babying them.
In many ways our approach to comforting one another as a church body has been influenced by the culture we are immersed in. Our culture values comfort and ease. We want to not have to experience hardship, to have relief from difficulty. And so our comforting of each other can often look like patting one another on the backs, speaking words of sympathy and hopefulness that things will get better. It can look like excusing behavior and not calling each other out on our poor choices.
The word in the Greek for comfort is paraklaeo which means to call alongside oneself. It’s this idea of together we are strengthened. It’s a coming alongside each other with strength and motivation toward growth. What if that’s how we comforted one another?
And what if we shared our real and vulnerable stories of how God has comforted us? In the beginning of this very letter, Paul writes: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4)
Today ask the Holy Spirit to give you creativity and wisdom to come alongside another family member and strengthen them to live into the design Jesus has for them: living in His way with His heart. Who in your life today needs to hear words of comfort? Take a few minutes to write an encouraging note to a person the Holy Spirit brings to your mind.
By Ellen Rosenberger