2016-08-23 - What People Say
And What the Bible Says About It
I've been told a good number of times, in varying arenas, that I'm a very good communicator. I give God credit for that. However, I'm aware that even under ideal circumstances, communication can be tricky, misunderstood and misdirected. Also there are some people who have pre-conceived notions about an issue, and no matter how clearly you place the truth in front of them, they simply won't open their minds to accept it. They well-meaningly allow themselves to be swayed and deluded by persuasive people with their own agendae. There is an old but apt saying, "don't confuse them with the facts." In those cases, all we can do is present the facts to them, pray for them - and if they don't accept it - "shake the dust off our feet," leaving them in God's hands. He will enlighten them, in His own time. To use a worn cliche, we need to "let go and let God."
But sometimes, we can improve communication, and we need to try, in order to be an edifying influence on others' lives, rather than a discouraging or demoralizing one. As most of you know, during the last seven months, Richard and I have dealt with his paralyzing, debilitating condition called Guillain-Barre Syndrome, which struck with no warning, and turned our world upside-down. The good news is that Richard is making progress toward recovery. As you can imagine, during the last year, we have been the recipients of many well-meaning comments from family, friends and acquaintances. Some of the comments have been encouraging and edifying, while others would have been better left unsaid.
Over the next several weeks, I will share some of these comments, in the hope that in doing so, we might all be encouraged to think and pray more carefully before opening our mouths and making comments to someone who is going through something difficult, especially if we have never experienced it ourselves. My hope is that as we examine how the comments line up with the Bible, this will help us all to be truly supportive to those who need it. In a lay counseling ministry of which I was a participant at a previous church, we actually had a class about what to say vs. what not to say, to those who are suffering. With God's guidance, that's what we'll be considering.
Janice P. Moser
All scripture references are from the New American Standard Bible (NASB) unless otherwise noted.