The fourth piece of establishing a relationship of trust is sorrow.  If you ask a person to share the most sorrowful thing in their life right now, you will be privileged to some of their deepest longings and heartaches.  Sickness, death, and broken relationships just to mention a few.  Sorrow comes in all shapes and sizes.  You must remember, ones personal sorrow is real and serious to them.  My tendency is to compare their sorrow to sorrow I know of or have experienced and minimize how they should feel.  Their sorrow is very real and very close to their inner feelings.

Real sorrow and real heartache.  If you engage a person in these areas, you will reveal the most vulnerable parts of their emotions.  Get ready!  When you ask the question “What is the most sorrowful thing you face today?” you will quiet likely bring on the tears.  This is an extremely sensitive place in all of our hearts and often hard to talk about without getting emotional.  Do not be afraid.  This is the very thing people hope someone will ask them.  I have found that people want to be known.  Really known!  This is the first of two questions that will touch a person’s most inner feeling.  The second will be covered in our final letter of the acronym.  Thirst.

I think Jesus said it best:

“How happy are those who know what sorrow means for they will be given courage and comfort!”

Jesus describes how content (Happy) we will be if we understand sorrow.  He also promised we would be given courage and comfort.  I feel the more we understand sorrow the more we will understand joy, which will give us courage and comfort just as Jesus spoke.  Through sorrow we will see the enormous love of God and his provision for us.

James, the brother of Jesus, took this thought to another level and said we should consider all kinds of trials (sorrow) and temptations as our friends.

James 1:2-8 – When all kinds of trials and temptations crowd into your lives my brothers, don’t resent them as intruders, but welcome them as friends! Realize that they come to test your faith and to produce in you the quality of endurance. But let the process go on until that endurance is fully developed, and you will find you have become men of mature character with the right sort of independence. And if, in the process, any of you does not know how to meet any particular problem he has only to ask God – who gives generously to all men without making them feel foolish or guilty – and he may be quite sure that the necessary wisdom will be given him. But he must ask in sincere faith without secret doubts as to whether he really wants God’s help or not. The man who trusts God, but with inward reservations, is like a wave of the sea, carried forward by the wind one moment and driven back the next. That sort of man cannot hope to receive anything from God, and the life of a man of divided loyalty will reveal instability at every turn.

We get a little more insight from James.  He does not focus on the trials and tribulations but focuses on our response.  He tells us to welcome them as our friends.  What a load of crap!  The first time I read these words when I was in a time of need, I felt like a failure if this is the faith I should have.  As I studied the passage, James moves my focus from the trials and tribulations to understanding God’s wisdom.  Then I began to get it!  We are to move our focus to God, our endurance and our mature character.  If we do not understand, we are to ask God for wisdom which he promises to give to us generously.  Endurance and mature character do not come from us but come from the wisdom God generously gives us when we ask.  Make sure you sincerely want the answer or he will allow you to be tossed like the waves of the sea.  Divided loyalty reveals instability at every turn.

Sorrow is also present in the workplace.  Some real sorrow and some spoiled sorrow.  I like to call spoiled sorrow “Buckhead” sorrow.  We lived in the wealthiest part of Atlanta and referred to the problems of little significance as “Buckhead problems”.  In the marketplace, two of the most common subjects of workplace sorrow (Buckhead sorrow) are “I’m so stressed” and “I’m burned out”.  My head begins to spin around every time I hear these words.  I have never experienced either one.  I do not have the time or the energy to respond to either statement.  When I hear these words I think of a spoiled individual who has been given too much.  I understand that being “stressed and burned out” could seem real to them.  I also feel that they could have a very small frame of reference on real life issues.  I quit allowing these statements to influence me as I learned what real sorrow looks like.  Real poverty, real hunger, real sickness, real danger and real oppression are a few of the life experiences I have seen which have given me a different outlook on life.  Thank God.  Stress and burn out are definitely an issue in the west and parts of the world where people are very privileged.  Enough venting.  I feel better now!

To comfort and help each other during times of sorrow is a noble act of kindness and love.  We need more of this in our lives especially in the workplace.  Directing the understanding of sorrow in an organization will lead your team to levels of trust like you have never seen.  I am an eyewitness to the life changing relationships established through sharing each other’s real sorrow.

I will finish with the formula of building a relationship of trust when I talk about Thirst in my next post.