Sometimes in our attempt to help someone who is going through a difficult time we say things that are unbiblical and hurtful. For example…
“God won’t give you more than you can handle!”
Have you ever thought this before? Have you ever said it to someone before? The problem with this little slogan is that there is a very good chance that it makes people feel worse than they already do. If they already feel overwhelmed then it tells them that something must be wrong with them or their faith.
Before you ever say that phrase again to someone who is suffering please read THIS and THIS. (Seriously, read these two links. The rest of this post will make little sense unless you do so.)
Please don’t misunderstand me. I strongly believe it is good to use the Word of God in an attempt to bring healing to someone who is going through a tough season in life. We are currently training people to do biblical counseling here at New Life. The problem is that too often the words we speak are nothing more than “conventional wisdom masquerading as biblical truth.”
So my first suggestion is that we stop using little slogans that aren’t biblical and don’t really help anyone. Here is my second suggestion. Speak truth to people but make sure we combine it with heavy doses of empathy.
“When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares.” -Henri Nouwen
Don’t merely throw truth at people and expect it make everything better. Imagine what the person is going through. Enter into their hurt with them.
Below is a brief video I have used before when it comes to thinking through we can help people who are struggling with depression. In the video Brene Brown gives us much to think about when it comes to helping anyone who is hurting.
I would love to hear your thoughts. What are some phrases that you have heard that hurt more than they help?
Above pic taken from georgechristensendotcom