When We Don’t Know What to Say

It’s not always easy to know what to say to someone, especially if they are grieving over something. This is why we should be reminded by what the Bible tells us about Job and his time of grieving. His three friends came to mourn with him and to try and comfort him. For the first week they sat with him and wept with him because he was in such deep sorrow (see Jo 2:11-13). “No one spoke a word to him, for they saw that his grief was very great.” Job 2:13 Just having them there next to him was a comfort to him.

However, after a while his friends started to lecture to him instead of showing him compassion and understanding. They told Job he must have done something, sinned against God and that God must be punishing him. (See Job 4:7-9)

When Job was finally able to respond, he told his friends what he really needed from them, it definitely was not judgment or lectures. He did however, asked them for reasons to continue hoping (Job 6:11), for kindness (Job 6:14), and for words that didn’t presume that he was guilty of something.

If we remember the story of Job and about his friends and how they responded eventually to his grief, it could help us to better think before we speak, especially if we don’t know what to say. Silence sometimes can say far more than words.

When someone is grieving – listen, don’t lecture.


Lord, give me sensitivity to people in their grief and pain. Help me to weep with them and show Your love in ways that mere words simply cannot attain.



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