Giving grace, not guilt

Patient Advocacy Post 7

Photo by Liza Summer on

podcast link below:–not-guilt-e1e8ijh

“Comparison is the thief of joy” (T. Roosevelt)

This is a post I’ve been thinking on for some time now…it’s a hard one for me to write and (maybe) for you to read (or hear). But I think it’s one that will be helpful for both of us in the writing, reading, listening, and living of it.

Please know that I write this out of love – my love for you and your love for me and together our love for those in our lives with chronic illness. We are all trying our best to live well in this shadow of the Cross, this place of grace.

Please hear me clearly and not be offended – please don’t compare my pain with yours. I know that you have good intentions and I am so very grateful for your concern and compassion. But when you say “my pain doesn’t begin to compare with what you go through every day” or something similar, it doesn’t help either you or me.

Yes, the pain from your injury or surgery is temporary and mine is not. Yes, the suffering from your infection is curable and mine won’t stop. But that doesn’t make your pain lesser or my pain greater. That doesn’t make you weak and me strong in how we live with this now. That doesn’t provide relief to pain for either of us. Rather, it makes both of us feel guilty in the comparison. And there in the guilt, we both suffer more pain.

Your guilt in the relief of knowing that your pain is temporary or curable doesn’t assuage my guilt in thinking that I somehow should’ve been a better example of how to live well with all of this, every day. Your guilt in that you should be silent in your pain doesn’t relieve my guilt in that you feel bad for me because my pain is evident even if I haven’t opened my mouth.

So, instead of comparing your pain with mine – please say something like this: “We are both hurting. Please pray for me about __________. How can I pray for you today?” or “This is hard. Do you have any suggestions that might help the pain?”.

In other words, please let me give you grace in your pain as you do the same for me.

There is a profound grace when we share our hearts in transparency like this. For there in grace, all of can thrive and grow together in strength.

Grace points to Christ; guilt points to me.

Grace gives joy to us; guilt robs us of joy.

A shared grace gives strength and that’s what we both need in the pain.

For when we share the pain in grace, we share the load of it. And when we share grace in pain, both of us are helped to stand up under it. Galatians 6:2 tells us to carry one another’s burdens and thus, fulfill the law of Christ.

One of the best ways to carry another’s burden is to point her to Christ in Matthew 11:28-30 “Come to me, all of you who are tired from carrying heavy loads, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke and put it on you, and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble in spirit; and you will find rest. For the yoke I will give you is easy, and the load I will put on you is light.”

Jesus doesn’t ask us to compare our pain with the agony He bore for us at Calvary. His pain gave us grace. And He gives more grace, not guilt, in calling us to come to Him. He is our example. He is our exceedingly more.

Jesus is here with both of us in the pain. And here in the pain, He is giving grace, not guilt.

So let’s join together in our pain with His grace and carry each other to Christ. For only in Christ will we find strength for today and hope for tomorrow.

This verse from Romans 8 gives both of us the freedom to exult in grace (without any guilt) and to delight in the joy of today and the not-yet so that we can walk forward together in the joy we find in our Christ

Romans 8:18 I consider that what we suffer at this present time cannot be compared at all with the glory that is going to be revealed to us.

Please know that I am so very grateful for each and every one of you. I see grace in your lives which overflows into mine. Thanks be to God for you!

If you’d like to see previous posts in the Patient Advocacy series, here’s a link to the most recent one:

You can find links to others in the series at the bottom of the page when you go to post 6 on the link above.

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Written by and copyrighted to Beth Madison, Ph.D., 2022.

Published by Beth Madison

author, speaker, learner

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