The statement in this title is true, but it is also very sad. Why do friends gloss over our pain?
The truth is that your friends are troubled by your sadness, your grief, your woundedness, and they want to help. So their instinctive response is to try to lift you out of that state of mind.
Unfortunately, we all do that! We want the wounds of our loved ones to go away. We want our own pain to go away, too — the pain we have because of theirs. So we suggest ideas we hope will make our friends feel better. The prophet Jeremiah speaks of this when he says, “You can't heal a wound by saying it is not there.”
Let me explain why I say this is unfortunate. In Scripture, Paul says: “Weep with those who weep.” He advises us to join with those who weep. I say that it is unfortunate that we so 'automatically' try to cheer a person up. Instead, we should weep with them.
Consider this pleasant mental picture:
Two friends, tears running down the cheeks of both, standing together, feeling the pain of one. There are no easy answers; there is no denying of the pain; there is no attempt to offer advice. But there is an embrace, a listening ear, a place to rest, and an infusion of hope, peace and love. And in that way, Jesus stands there, too. Jesus never fails. When it happens to one of us, it happens to him. This is an awesome reality!
And, like Jesus, a true friend cries out on our behalf instead of standing apart from our pain. In her prayers, she puts into the words the other person’s plight. She speaks to God of the conflicts that she knows are squeezing her friend. Rare, good friends weep with us. Like the example above of the two friends, the one is present with the other. A true friend shares her heart, her love, concern, care, and especially, her time.
Friends who don’t understand this gloss over our wounds. When a brother dies, his neighbor typically says, “Isn’t it wonderful? He is with the Lord.” That is true, but it is an unhelpful way to comfort. Conventional consolation cannot fix true sorrow. Seldom do our words help much.
What help and heals most is being there and weeping with those who weep.