Thursday, October 8, 2015
Stupid Phrases for People in Crisis | Communicating.Across.Boundaries
This article needs to be handed out at every church (and, Jean suggests, also at every seminary). Things people say that are actually hurtful to the suffering.
The hymn is "here I am, send me, send me", not "I'm going to pray for you so that God will send someone else." Get off the couch, stop praying, and do something useful. I've had people praying for my chores for 15 years and God still hasn't dropped by to do the chores for me. Please don't try to convince me of the "power of prayer" because I have the evidence in my own home that hands-on action works better than praying.
God will never give you more than you can handle. While some may believe it is theologically correct, depending on your definitions, it is singularly unhelpful to the person who is neck-deep in a crisis, trying to swim against a Tsunami. A wonderful phrase recently came from Support for Special Needs. They suggest changing this from "God will never give you more than you can handle" to "Let me come over and help you do some laundry." This strikes me as even more theologically correct.
When God shuts a door, he opens a window. Maybe, but maybe not. Maybe he just shuts a door. Maybe there is no window. There was no window for Job. There was a cosmic battle that raged as he sat in distress. There might not be a window.
Did you pray about it? Again – theologically correct. "Don't worry about anything, instead, pray about everything…" but in a crisis, you don't heap guilt onto pain and suffering.
Maybe it happened for a reason. Remember what I said about punching someone in the face with a knife? Yeah – that.