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In your painful grief, I wonder how many times you have walked away from a conversation thinking, “they just don’t understand”.  They said something that was hurtful in your grief.  They made a comment that sliced through your heart. They cracked a joke that hit the wrong way. They just don’t seem to understand do they?

That’s to be expected friend. Grief is a very unique experience. While many who grieve share similar emotions and responses, they are all experienced differently. As it’s been said, “everyone grieves differently”. It’s true. Grief is a minefield of unpredictable and often uncontrollable emotions.

C.S. Lewis, in his book “A Grief Observed,” commented on how relationships are made uncomfortable by grief. Conversations can turn awkward. Eye contact can be weird. Since death is an enemy, it tends to do harmful damage to those left behind. Lewis writes, “I see people, as they approach me, trying to make up their minds whether they’ll ‘say something about it’ or not. I hate if they do, and if they don’t.” It’s a normal part of the grieving process, this awkwardness. If you’re the one who lost a loved one, you feel it. If you’re the one God sent to encourage and comfort, you feel it.

Grieving and hurting friend, consider some optional responses for those times you feel as if they don’t understand you.

1. Accept It

What you’re feeling is true. They don’t understand. Don’t hold it against them. In your heart of hearts you don’t want them to understand. Who wants the kind of pain you’re feeling to be on anyone else. Extend grace to them even as your heavenly father has extended it to you.

Exodus 3:7 (NKJV) “And the Lord said: “I have surely seen the oppression of My people who are in Egypt, and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters, for I know their sorrows.”

2. Receive It

Looking past what is said or done, receive the truth that God has someone in your life that loves you and is trying to connect with you in a very difficult and awkward season of life. It’s hard for you and it’s mildly hard for them too.  We rejoice that they are not some of the ones who simply chose to leave and not deal with the awkwardness at all.

Proverbs 17:17 (NKJV) “A friend loves at all times, And a brother is born for adversity.”

3. Move Beyond It

Choose not to dwell on the words that stung so deeply. You’re different. You’re hurting. You’re not who you were.  I’m sorry. It stinks so bad. Yet as we choose to move forward, step by step, the Spirit of God is with us. Maybe there was some truth to what was said and that was hard to hear. A great habit to develop in your life is to take your pains and hurts to the One who loves you and was hurt for you.

1 Peter 5:6–7 (NKJV) “Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.

I’m sorry it’s been a hard season for you. God is forming and fashioning you. I know you want Him to do it some other way, but this is the path God has chosen for you. In your anger and frustration and pain, look to Him by faith and ask for His comfort and healing. Day by day you will receive it.

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