People in your life will pretend to offer your sympathy. Reject it. Be kind. Be thankful. They may be friends who will be loyal to you a long time. But, don’t let sympathy go to your heart.
No one can sympathize with your situation like Jesus. He grew up human and died on a Roman cross. Jesus knows pain and hardship better than anyone else. Friends will encourage you, everyone needs this. Sometimes you must be the friend to encourage others. But, sympathy misplaced can lower your standards. If you need a shoulder to cry or lean on, don’t turn it into a crutch.
When Frodo and the fellowship departed the caves after crossing the Bridge of Khazad Dum, where Gandalf had just fallen, they did not have the luxury of sympathy. “Giving them a moment” would have spelled their death.
Many people offer sympathy, understanding, excuses, lowered standards and, in the end, if you accept and act on those opportunities to pause and grieve for yourself, you will be overrun. This is why quiet times and regular prayer are vital.
Spend every waking moment you can in a state of fellowship with Jesus through his Spirit. When you have a strong emotional connection to Jesus, you don’t the usual, addictive, seductive, ensnaring sympathies from people who can’t help you anyway. Unwarranted sympathy is, after all, an impostor—a counterfeit—of real understanding and fellowship that only comes from the one, perfect human—the one human who can identify with you the most.
Jesus understands you. He knows your situation. When only one set of footprints mark the sands of painful times, those were the times when he carried you. Don’t give into self-sorrow and drop your guard along with your standards, all in the name of so-called “sympathy”.
Cry when you need to; Jesus gave us tears. Cry with your friends. Deal with your pain. Talk with your friends and open your heart. But, don’t let sympathy grow into an undue addiction. Anything good can be used in the wrong setting and, sympathy notwithstanding, end up baiting you into a state of weakness that you might not grow out of this side of Eternity.