When people make their struggles known, those who listen usually feel uncomfortable and uncertain of what to do. Most of us end up giving advice or reassurance that draws a courteous yawn. We rarely see such moments as opportunity for powerful connection . . . The usual pattern for most of us in dealing with a hurting friend is to retreat, reprove or refer. Like Israelites avoiding a leper, most of us want to establish a safe distance between us and the emotionally troubled. We often do so by reciting Christian phrases that arouse no passion in us but are supposed to do powerful things for them . . . Or we try to scold people into holier living. Reproving another provides an easy route to representing God without the hard work of involvement. It's Sinai without Bethlehem, legislation without incarnation; only Moses, never Christ.
Larry Crabb, Connecting: Healing Ourselves and Our Relationships