8 Things Never to Say When Your Friend Hurts
by Bill Nichols
Posted: December 1, 2016
Do you know what to say when someone is in serious emotional and spiritual pain?…
When Jonathan McComb lost his wife, Laura, and their two children in the Texas Hill Country flood, friends wondered what they should say. When a man’s heart and mind are shattered and in shock, sometimes what he needs more than words, is a silent hug, a gentle smile, and a I-love-you-pat on the back. Part of what he needs is loving silence.
As a young and inexperienced pastor, I had very little first-hand acquaintance with human suffering, grief, or pain. In those early days when I entered a room where someone was hurting and no one was speaking, I felt the need to say something, anything. After all I was the pastor, the professional spokesperson for God. Too often my efforts at trying to sound wise backfired.
Over time, and after a good number of blunders, I learned some things to say and some things not to say. To prevent you from doing the same kind of damage I did, let me offer you –
Eight Things You Should NEVER Say To Someone Who Hurts.
- Don’t be Fatalistic: “This is God’s will. Accept it. He knows best.
- Don’t be Unsympathetic: “It could be a lot worse. Just be thankful.
- Don’t be Agnostic: “It’s just bad luck. God has nothing to do with this.
- Don’t be Judgmental: “Maybe this is God’s way of getting your attention. Maybe you need to pray for forgiveness.”
- Don’t be Super-spiritual: “God is more interested in your soul. This will help you grow spiritually and get you closer to God.
- Don’t be Critical: “God never causes suffering. He wants us to be healthy and happy. It’s the work of the Devil. This will make you better.”
- Don’t be Ego-Centric: “I know just how you feel. Let me tell you about my loss. You think you are suffering; my family has really experienced pain. Let me tell you all about it.”
- Don’t be Condescending: “Don’t cry. Take it like Jesus did. Be a good Christian. Don’t be upset. Just look around and you can see people who have things a lot worse.”
Dr. Bill Nichols
For more information about how your emotions, mind, and spirit can work together to help you make good decisions and to learn additional practical steps, Bible insights, and helpful examples on developing a healthy faith, I invite you to accept a FREE Introduction Chapter and Table of Contents of my new book, Healthy Faith: A Strategic Lifestyle Plan to Transform Your Head, Heart, and Hands.
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Dr. Nichols has been active in health education and ethics. He founded HealthyFaith.net to provide "collaboration for healthy living through helpful and reliable information for individuals, their families, and the professionals who work with them to support their health, disability and faith concerns."• E-mail the author (moc.ctvg@slohcinllib*) • Author's website (personal or primary**)
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