Weeping with those who weep: A necessary form of generosity

Every day at NCF, we have a front-row seat to truly remarkable financial generosity. Over and over, we see people giving sacrificially, caring deeply for others, and longing to make the world better for everyone with the love of Jesus. It is a privilege to be allowed this vantage point. Your gifts are overwhelming.

But there are crises money can’t solve.

There are moments when the generous response is something else. There are times when – in place of or in addition to financial giving – we need to represent the Lord by our actions or our presence.

Now might be one of those moments.

Just on the heels of news that our nation has lost a million people to COVID, reports of mass violence have filled our newsfeeds. These events have interrupted our sense of order and safety and, for many, have highlighted their own losses and pain. It is easy to be overwhelmed by these tragic events.

In the Book of Romans, the Apostle Paul admonishes us to “weep with those who weep,” to be close to the lowly and brokenhearted, to bring peace where we can. This is how we imitate the Christ who poured himself out for us.

So, this week, we’re sharing some practical ways to do that. Let us pray for God’s wisdom and guidance as we seek to be the hands and feet of Christ for our communities in this moment.

Here are a few things you can do:

  1. Pray – This seems obvious, but how do we even start? It can be difficult, but God hasn’t left us without resources. You can pray with certainty from Scripture that God is near to the brokenhearted: “God, I know you are not absent. Please help _________ sense that you are near.”

    “Heal our broken hearts” (Psalm 34:18).
    “Bind up the wounds of this community” (Psalm 147:3).
    “Let comfort for those who are mourning come quickly. Let them know you, the One who still gives meaning and purpose to their lives” (Matthew 5:4, Psalm 57:2, Philippians 1:6).

    If these feel like not enough, search the Psalms. Of the 150 recorded in the Bible, 60 of them are laments. Paraphrase the words of the Psalms, or speak them directly back to God. Join with others who are praying these specific responses to recent events. Take your time. Healing is a slow process. Stick with someone (or be patient with yourself) for the long haul.
  2. Sit in silence with someone – Mourning is awkward. Admitting you’re not okay is not easy. Being present with someone in their suffering demonstrates solidarity and offers comfort. Being still is a gift that is difficult to give, because there is always something else you could or should be doing. Taking time from doing those other things makes the gift of your presence even more valuable.
  3. Be present in practical ways – Someone who is mourning may not want to go to the store, make dinner, pay bills, or renew their car registration. Offer to do the day-to-day things someone needs to provide them the opportunity to rest. Offer to do the same thing again in a week if you have the time. A person who is grieving may need your support for a longer time than societal norms allow.
  4. Sit in silence and stillness – On May 30, many news outlets shut down their social media for 21 minutes and didn’t post any stories on their online newsfeeds. They remained silent for 21 minutes to commemorate how many people died in Uvalde, Texas, on May 24. You can make time to sit in stillness too, for those in Uvalde, Texas; Buffalo, New York; Laguna Woods, California; Tulsa, Oklahoma; Ames, Iowa, and elsewhere. Don’t forget that God spoke the words, “Be still and know that I am God” in the context of a battle, one that God would win as they gave it to him (Psalm 46:10). Set aside some quiet time to be still and give God your attention.
  5. Send a card – Handwritten notes are rare these days, but they are still meaningful. Send a card of encouragement to a friend or family member who has lost a loved one. Or send a card in support of a family member of a victim of one of the recent tragedies. Tell them you are mourning with them and praying for their healing. (Find helpful addresses here.)
  6. Volunteer in your own community – If you have a calm and encouraging demeanor, consider volunteering at a school in your community. Or volunteer in other ways you know your community needs. Maybe God has already put a ministry on your heart to help?
  7. Rally your community – If you live in one of these communities (or even if you don’t), consider rallying your church and community to support those in crisis. For ideas, read about how our South Florida team and local churches worked together to support their local community in the wake of a shooting at a high school near them.

Finally, we know there are still some financial needs to be met in these communities. If you would like to help by giving, connect with your local NCF team for ideas.

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