“Like one who takes away a garment in cold weather, and like vinegar on soda, is one who sings songs to a heavy heart.” – Proverbs 25:20
Have you ever made a volcano?
So many kids love this. You can buy little volcano making kits and toys, and when you put it all together, just put in the baking soda and a little vinegar and what happens? It erupts!
Or have you ever walked outside on a winter morning thinking that it’s nice outside only to find out that it’s a lot colder than you thought? It takes your breath away, doesn’t it?
If you imagine these two reactions happening inside someone’s heart, that’s what our verse today says it’s like if you sing songs to a heavy heart.
You say, “Well, wait a minute. I come to church sometimes with a heavy heart and actually the singing of the songs helped.” Good! It was meant to. But sometimes it can be like vinegar and soda.
Here’s what Solomon is pointing to: You’re in a situation where things could not be going worse for you. You fill in the blank. You have all been in situations like that. It might be the death of a loved one. It might be the difficulty of something that has happened at work. It might be the loss of a job—whatever it might be. But here comes that jolly saint Christian guy—you know the one—who looks at you and says, “Well, you know, all things work together for good.” And you just feel like it is time—POW—to pop this guy right in the schnoz. You know what I’m saying?
This verse is saying that, as you would never take away a coat when it’s cold, don’t be one who kind of glibly, brainlessly shows up without the sympathy and true-heart affection for someone who is hurting, don’t go say something that—although it is true—at the moment, might not have the timing to be right in that moment.
I have found this proverb to be so true, and certainly would have to admit I have learned it the hard way, that sometimes it’s better to say nothing and just have a ministry of availability instead of a ministry of words. There are times for a ministry of presence, of just being there and putting your arm around someone and saying, “You know I’m here for you if you want to talk,” to let them do the talking instead of you trying to fix all their problems.
Do you know people who have heavy hearts? Then be someone to them who brings comfort instead of clichés. Do you have a heavy heart today? It’s okay. May God bring people around you who will keep your coat on until things are warm again.
Thank You for caring about me when my heart is heavy! Please help me to be sensitive to the people around me so that I can bring healing instead of hurt.