Life is hard. It’s ok to say it.
Amazing things are happening throughout the world. Babies are being born. Souls are being saved. Students are graduating. Summer is right around the corner. Families are being healed and reconciled. But…life is hard.
Life is hard. It’s scary. It’s intimating. People are hurting. Sin happens. We make mistakes. Death sneaks up on us. Betrayal occurs. We are tired and broken people.
Living in community, we need to get to that point and say to one another: “Life is hard.” or “I feel so alone.” When we admit these things, we acknowledge the reality of the situation. We are admitting our lack of control and power. As an act of surrender, we are displaying vulnerability. Letting the world know that life is not always easy.
We tend to fall into the mentality to always be positive in the light of day. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for positivity and the power that holds. However, there’s something refreshing about honesty and simply saying “life is hard”.
Why do we need to get to that point? Because like I stated before, people are hurting. Community is full of people who have shared experiences and hurts. They may not like identical but there are emotions that allow us to connect with one another in many ways.
When someone opens up and says “Life is hard”. We need to respond, but how do we respond: “Oh, that stinks.” Or “I’m sorry that happened to you, but look on the bright side…” or “Cheer up. The Lord has it all under control.” Those phrases do come from a well-intended heart and hold truth. But do they initiate community? Do they provide a connection with the other person?
Empathy is letting the other person knows that they are not alone. Taking in their perspective and understanding the emotion of what they are feeling. Essentially it’s about making a connection. Instead of stating the surface level of “it will be ok”, we should say “I know you are hurting. We are in this together.”
It’s in those connections where we can communicate the truth and hope. Empathy provides the space and trust of acknowledging that life is hard but you are not alone. There is hope.
Video on Empathy (Link to YouTube): youtube.com/watch?v=1Evwgu369Jw