The Holy Spirit who dwells within us, if we are born again, is called the Comforter. What a beautiful name. The Greek word “parakletos” means “to speak cheerfully, to encourage, to come alongside to help, a legal helper, an intercessor.” Read John 14:26, 15:26; and 16:7-11.
Because the Comforter dwells within us to help and cheer us up, He also wants to comfort others through us. One of the evidences of the Holy Spirit in us is that we comfort others—our husband, children, and people who are part of our lives.
What do you think of when you think of a comforter? We think of someone who is kind, compassionate, consoling, encouraging, and who lifts us up. It also means they pray and intercede for us as the Holy Spirit does. I have to ask myself: “Am I a comforter to my husband, my family, and all I meet? Each new day? “Please help me to be a loving comforter to them, dear Father.”
However, we have to be a true Holy spirit comforter, not a counterfeit comforter. Just as we learn to discern the cries of our little baby, we discern the cries of our children. Sometimes they need consoling and comforting words. Sometimes they need our prayers. Other times they cry because they feel sorry for themselves or are mad with their brother and sister. This is not a time to side with their attitude. It’s a time to lift them up to see beyond themselves and teach them that life is not all about pandering to them, but also thinking about others. It’s time to pray with them and lead them to a higher plane.
There are many adults who still have this kind of attitude. I have often seen a woman crying and another rushing up to her and putting their arm around them as soon as they cry. Sometimes this is the right thing to do. The very thing they need.
But not always. Maybe they are crying because of self-pity. “Poor me. Everyone is against me.” Maybe they are selfishly thinking of their own agenda and want people to side with their side of the story. These women also need true Holy Spirit comforting—lifting up their spirits to see that God is bigger than their circumstances, that God is in control, that God is more interested in making them into the image of Christ than letting them stay in their state of self-pity and depression. Instead of siding with them, we need to encourage and pray with them, and lift them up from their miserable state.
I remember reading a book by Watchman Nee where he wrote of a woman who gently went to a woman who was crying. Instead of saying, “What are you crying for, my dear?” she asked, “Who are you crying for? Yourself or for someone else?”
When Jesus promised His disciples to send the beloved Comforter to them in John 16:7, He immediately states in the next verse that the Comforter “will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment" (verses 8--11).
May God give us great discernment as we comfort. Let’s look to the Lord for His anointing as we comfort that we will comfort the way the Holy Spirit comforts—lifting us up to a new plane, not covering a wound with a patch of nice words when the problem still festers underneath.
Love and blessings,
Picture: LOVE ONE ANOTHER--Art by Mary Engelbreit