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A Big Deal to Her

I’ve battled all week about writing this — mostly because it’s an embarrassing confession — but at the risk of losing respect, here goes … 

I was having a conversation with a friend this week, when she mentioned something that was really troubling her.  My immediate reaction was:  I felt her issue was nothing to trouble herself (or anyone else) about.  If the same thing had happened to me I most likely would’ve shrugged and said, “Meh.  No big deal”.  But to her, it was a big deal.  

Instead of drudging up even a small amount of empathy, I found myself saying nothing.  In fact, I almost smiled.  Although not a grin, and certainly not dancing with glee, I have to ashamedly admit that I felt a sort of smugness.  My inner attitude was, “That’s nothing to fret about. Why are you even telling me this?" But that's not all. It gets worse. I also thought, "Thank goodness I’m not the only one with problems.”  There it is.  My real revelation. 

As I’ve thought about that over the last days, the following questions have arisen. 

First: “What’s wrong with me?!”  

Second:  “Have I not grown enough as a person, and child of God, to feel sympathy for a person in pain?”  

Third:  “How can I feel this inappropriate satisfaction when my friend is struggling?  Is it because I know I have issues, and I want someone else to?”  

Sigh.  That's it.

Years ago, in a parking lot outside a shopping mall, one of our children lost her red balloon to the wind.  My husband and I had just finished our “To-Buy” list, and were about to pile ourselves and our three children back into our vehicle. Unfortunately, she let go of her newly acquired possession.  Being the tired mom I often was, I said something to the affect of, “It’s just a balloon. Not a big deal.  Get in the car.”  She, and her two siblings (who had hung onto their treasures) were then quickly strapped into their seats.  But before my husband and I climbed into ours, he caught my eye.  Over the top of our Lumina van he quietly said, “It was a big deal to her.”

As I type this, tears have come into my eyes as I think of my little girl's sadness that day.  (And maybe a little because he was right.  Again.)  But seriously, he wasn’t wrong. The loss of that balloon was huge to her, and I definitely should have been sensitive to her feelings.

Apparently I haven’t grown much. So, after having asked forgiveness from God for my formerly smug thoughts, I'm trying to feel more empathy for my friend.  Even though I don’t get it, she’s hurting, and I want to acknowledge, be sensitive to, and help her through that. 

This brings to mind another question, and a PRAISE too.

The Question:

Since I have a true friend in Jesus, who loves me with my many faults, how can I not be a friend who shows grace and mercy to everyone around me -- especially to the ones I love?

The Praise: 

God’s grace is endless, even when we mess up.

Hebrews 4:15&16 (NASB1995) “For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.  Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”

Praise God for His grace and mercy!

As I pray, and try to do better, please know I pray for you too — for God to bless you as He shows you the BEST plan He has for you!  

He is GOOD even when we fail, and even when we can’t see it.


Pattie Janzen


As always, feel free to comment here, or email me personally with prayer requests or anything you'd like to share. pdjanz11@gmail.com

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