A story is told about a little boy with a big heart.[a] His next-door neighbor was an older gentleman whose wife had recently died. When the youngster saw the elderly man crying, he climbed up onto his lap and simply sat there. Later, his mother asked the boy what he had said to their saddened neighbor.
“Nothing,” the child replied. “I just helped him cry.”
Sometimes that is the best thing we can do for people who are facing profound sorrow. Often, our attempts to say something wise and helpful are far less valuable than just sitting next to the bereaved ones, holding their hand, and crying with them.
Think what little God asks of us in exchange for His unspeakable gift. We have received justification – not the hope of it, but the very thing. Those who already stand before the Heavenly throne are no more justified than we are right now. The thief on the cross was justified the moment that he expressed his faith in Jesus; and the Apostle Paul, after years of service, was not more justified than the thief was with no service at all. We are today accepted in the Beloved, today absolved from sin, today acquitted at the bar of God. What a soul-transporting thought!
"There is neither speck, nor spot, nor wrinkle, nor any such thing remaining upon any one believer in the matter of justification in the sight of the Judge of all the earth!"
~ C. Spurgeon
In return, God asks only that we love others.
“Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ.” - Galatians 6:2
This simple command is hard for us to do. In the words of Jonathan Swift, “It is remarkable with what Christian fortitude and resignation we can bear the suffering of other folks.” Empathy and love are fruits that need to grow through cultivation, with pruning and the uprooting of love-choking weeds. Thankfully, it is the Spirit’s fruit and God will do the cultivating as we surrender a little more to Him each day.
True maturity in Christ will make us more like that little child.
“Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” - John 13:35
[a] Source unknown, recounted at This Day's Thought.org