There is no doubt that this world is filled with pain, misery, and suffering. I have seen plenty of Christians suffer for various reasons (e.g., health issues, family, other circumstances). I have also watched Christians who try to empathize or counsel other Christians in the midst of the suffering. Keep in mind that I applaud the motivation and desire for Christians that want to comfort and help he Christian in pain. So these tips are meant to be a form of constructive criticism. In my opinion, here are four things that Christians need to stop saying:
#1: “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”- Isa. 55: 9
This translates as “God’s ways are not our ways.” Yep, I hear this one quite a bit. My thoughts on this: Don’t say this to a grieving Christian. It really doesn’t help at all. It translates as we should never ask God why we are experiencing suffering because His ways are beyond our understanding.
#2: “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”- Romans 8:28
This translates as “God has a plan here.” I hear this one a lot as well. My thoughts: To the grieving Christian, they don’t see a plan here. The suffering doesn’t make sense and they don’t need to hear that!
#3: “I know you’re suffering, but time will heal this issue”
This has to be one of the worst things you can say. At the moment, the individual is suffering and they need to grieve. And they may need to grieve for a long time. So please don’t say that.
#4: “I understand what you’re going through.”
Well, I applaud the attempt to empathize here. But the reality is that if you haven’t actually gone through what the one who is suffering is going through, then you really don’t understand what they are experiencing.
So what should we do?
In my opinion, the best thing to do is pray for the person and say “I am here to listen.” That’s about it!!!!!!!!!!!