My pain is not assuaged.

I have heard many such things; miserable comforters are you all. Shall windy words have an end? Or what provokes you that you answer? I also could speak as you do, if you were in my place; I could join words together against you and shake my head at you. I could strengthen you with my mouth, and the solace of my lips would assuage your pain.
(Job 16:2-5 ESV)

Solomon in Proverbs says that our words have to the power to bring life or death to those who listen to what we say. In this response to Eliphaz the Temanite Job seems to be saying something similar. Can you imagine what it must have been like for Job to be accosted with hateful words as he sat grieving the loss of his children and of his health? What is it in us that feels a need to speak to people in grief the way that Job's friends spoke to him.

A friend recently asked me why well meaning Christians use Christian clichés when speaking to victims of extreme pain or loss. I told him that we are sometimes trained to think in cliches in church - the "You give and take away" refrain in that popular worship song is an example of a bad religious cliché. Yet sometimes we can get past the clichés. On occasion we find words that bring strength and courage to grieving people ... words that assuage their pain.

Bring words of life to my mind Lord. Give me words that assuage the pain of grieving friends.

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