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Richard Sibbs on Comforting Others

December 28, 2006
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That we may be able to comfort others, let us,(1.) Be ready to take notice of the grievance of others; as Moses went to see the afflictions of his brethren, and when he saw it, laid it to heart, Ex. iv. 31. It is a good way to go to ‘the house of mourning,’Eccles. vii. 2, and not to balk and decline our Christian brethren in adversity. God ‘ knows our souls in adversity, Ps. xxxi. 7 ; so should we do the souls of others, if they be knit to us in any bond of kindred, or nature, or neighbourhood, or the like. That bond should provoke us; for bonds are as the veins and arteries to derive comfort. All bonds are to derive good, whether bonds of neighbourhood, or acquaintance, etc. A man should think with himself, I have this bond to do my neighbour good. It is God’s providence that I should be acquainted with him, and do that to him that I cannot do to a stranger. Let us consider all bonds, and let this work upon us: let us consider their grievance is a bond to tie us.

(2.) And withal let us labour to put upon us the bowels of a father and mother, tender bowels, as God puts upon him bowels of compassion towards us. So St Paul, being an excellent comforter of others, in 1 Thess. ii. 7, he shews there how he carried himself as a father, or mother, or nurse to them. Those that will comfort others, they must put upon them the affections of tender creatures as may be. They must be patient, they must be tenderly affected, they must have love, they must have the graces of communion.

What be the graces of communion? The graces of Christian communion to fit us in the communion of saints to do good, they are a loving, meek, patient spirit. Love makes patient. As we see mothers and nurses, what can they not endure of their children, because they love them? And they must be likewise wise and furnished. They that will comfort others must get wisdom and ability. They must get humility, they must abase themselves that they may be comfortable to others, and not stand upon terms. These be the graces of communion that fit us for the communion of saints.
….It is a special goodness of God, that everything should tend to our good. Thus all things are for us. The sufferings of others tend to increase our comfort, and the comfort of others is for our comfort. There is such a sweet prudence in directing us to heaven, that God makes everything help ; not only our own troubles that we suffer ourselves, but he doth sweetly turn the troubles of others, and the comforts of others to our good.

This excerpt is from, “An Exposition of 2nd Corinthians Chapter One Verse Four,” from The Works of Richard Sibbs, Edited by: Alexander B. Grosart, The Banner of Truth Trust. The full text may be found here.

 

2 comments:

Victorbravo said…
A very good excerpt to take to heart. I need to remember the part about not “standing on terms.”
2:21 PM  
Heidi said…
The suffering of others is for our comfort…. I have often thought of the opposite: that our suffering is for the comfort of others, but never of this. Often the sufferings of others seem more painful and harder to derive any comfort for them, or oneself from than ones own. I will have to think about this, and remember it. I am sure I will be remembering it many times, considering all the sufferings here.I was thinking though reading this Lauren, that you have exemplified many of these things to me. Further proof that God’s beauty does rest on you (and that He will establish the works of your hands).

8:24 AM  
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