Updated: Feb 8, 2022
You know who she is.....
She is that woman sitting alone on the back Church pew.
She is the woman who quietly enters the room and quietly leaves.
She is the woman looked on with pity and with confusion. She is the woman who doesn't quite fit into the scene, whatever the scene may be.
But she is also a woman deeply and tenderly loved by God. She is a woman who can sometimes barely pull herself together to go out in public. She is the woman who feels like she doesn't fit in with her surroundings and knows that there is very little she can do about that reality. I've been the woman pitied and the woman doing the pitying and I have come to learn that in order to effectively minister to our hurting sisters, there are some things you simply should not say.
Did you do everything you could?
Especially in the sexual addiction world, so many hurting women are hearing this question from well meaning church leaders and members. It's usually followed with, Did you have sex with him enough? Did you keep up with your body? Did you wear something more than yoga pants? As if sin can be manipulated by makeup and a dress! Nonsense. Whether she could have done more or whether she gave it all she had, please don't ever imply there was something more that a woman could have done/said/shown to prevent someone else's willful choice to sin.
It's okay honey, it won't be long before someone else comes along.
This woman is grieving her husband. That kind of severing should not be flippantly tossed aside. Another thing to consider is that a hurting woman is in a new season of life and it is a season God has allowed her to be in. It's not a waiting until period, it's a waiting as period. The church should be marriage and family focused, yes, but they also need to be single focused; not treating singlehood as a steppingstone to something, but an imperative season that the Lord often uses to do some of His most intimate work. Make no mistake, a lonely and hurting woman desires a godly man to gently lead and cherish her, but please do not encourage her to fixate on the next more than the now.
Well that’s a man for ya. They all do it at some point.
It is never a good idea to tell a woman made in the image of God that men - who are also made in the image of God - are all inevitably going to abuse, abandon or cheat. The men who are going to inevitably "do it" at some point are men who chose to do it - not because they are male but because they have sin in them just as you have sin in you. Should a woman accept the wrong example of manhood because it's common or the social norm? No she should not. Don't slap your brothers in the face and deliver a painful blow to the heart of your sister with a remark like that.
At least you have your kids.
How is it comforting to remind a heartbroken woman that she will raise heartbroken children? As a mom of three little ones, watching children process the total decapitation of their family unit is one of the most excruciating things a person can go through. Having children is a comfort, no question, but they could never fill the shoes of a spouse, nor should they. Making the above statement, while somewhat true, is not a consolation for a broken covenant or for a burial. In fact, most of the time, it's heaping pain upon pain.
I know how you feel.
No you don't. You really don't. While I can more easily empathize with a woman who has been betrayed, I cannot, nor will I ever know how she feels because I am not her. And although I am grateful for all those with similar experiences coming alongside of me, they don't know exactly how I feel because they do not have my personality, my background, my desires, etc. There is a difference between comforting those with the same comfort you have received and minimizing someone else's pain by inadvertently magnifying your own. Please learn the difference.
It could be worse.
Right now, this is the worst. At this moment, the hurt she feels is overwhelming, sometimes debilitating. She can barely think and nearly everything feels like sandpaper on a gaping wound. Yes, maybe it could be worse to you, but to her this may likely be the worst thing she will ever experience. Never, ever invalidate someone's pain or you will be a person considered unsafe. Those who have ministered to me the best have been those who have been willing to sit in the ashes with me, not stand over me talking about house fires down the road. Encourage and point that dear woman to the hope we have but, friend, do not neglect to weep with those who weep.
Broken people help broken people the best. People who have been given the hope of heaven help those in need of hope the most. Those who know how to cry minister to those crying the greatest. Just as Jesus grieved with Mary and Martha all while knowing in moments He would call Lazarus from the grave, may we minister grace to hurting people while watching the clouds for the Healer to come.
For more on this topic, study: Exodus 17:12; Psalm 141:3; Proverbs 12:18; Proverbs 15:1; Proverbs 16:24; Proverbs 21:23; Matthew 10:8; John 15:12-13; Romans 15:1; Galatians 6:2, 10; Ephesians 4:29; Philippians 2:24; Philippians 4:5; Colossians 3:12; Colossians 4:6; James 3:10-11; 2 Peter 1:5-7;