From bricks to forgiveness…

This past week, I spent hours upcycling old bricks, chipping off old cement. But I also spent those hours thinking about Nelson Mandela. As a prisoner, he too chipped away at stones in a quarry, and after 27 years, he still could forgive.

If he had the courage to do that, so could I. So, I chipped and prayed about a painful situation… Then it dawned on me – God is above every manipulation, and no one can ruin his plans.

I finished that pile of bricks and late that night, I stopped fretting about my apparent ruin. I was still on track in God’s eyes. I could forgive. I could leave bitterness behind, because God is above all.

(photo by Magda Ehlers:

Some DON’Ts and DOs when comforting others

  • Don’t yawn or fall asleep, even in a midnight conversation. A griever is fragile.
  • Don’t interrupt them to tell about something good in your life. A griever is vulnerable.
  • Don’t say that others have had it worse. A griever can easily be silenced.
  • Don’t think that comfort is only hugs – it could mean taking them for a walk. A griever needs variety.
  • Don’t promise that everything will turn out alright. A griever deserves honesty.

Some DOs…

  • Do respect their emotional boundaries. Grief can only be carried by the griever.
  • Do remember that as your life goes on, they will grieve in silence. Grief is ever-present.
  • Do keep it confidential, because it is their story to share, not yours. Grief is private.
  • Do promise that you will support them as best you can. Grief is overwhelming.

Yet, there is an even greater Comforter, the one who actually makes us better – God. ‘He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds’ (Psalm 147:3).

(photo by Karolina Grabowska: