“Pray about it”
“God is in control”
“Don’t worry God has a plan for your life”
“God is going to use this in ways you don’t know yet”
“Here’s a scripture that kind of pertains to your situation”
I swear if I have to hear this kind of crap the next time I’m having some personal struggle I might stab someone. Yes I understand that we are supposed to continually point our brothers and sisters to Christ, especially in times of duress, but seriously am I the only one who gets annoyed about how often I hear this? Social Media has only made it worse; how easy is it to see a Facebook Status of a friends that suggest they are having a rough time and to write a few word comment about “God still loving them” or “Take the issue to God”….. Every time I see it I have to restrain myself from commenting back “Wow man, I can’t believe I didn’t think about praying about it, thanks so much for the advice. My world is suddenly a lot better :)”. It’s a good thing I filter some of my thoughts, I’d have a lot less friends if I didn’t.
I’m not trying to say that we should remove God from our counseling of friends and family, please do not think you can do everything yourself. However, God has given us brains, compassion, and our own words (based on HIs truths) so that we would use them to better our fellow humans. Let’s start doing just that. While there is a time and place for encouraging someone to pray or reminding them that God is still there, let’s stop taking the lazy approach and stop using these sentiments(that are so over stated that they’ve all but lost meaning to both the sender and the recipient) and give some thoughtful responses. You don’t even have to come up with a full on professional counselor response, sometimes it’s very ok to simply agree with the person and say “Man, that really sucks”. I know from personal experience that as soon as stuff starts to go shitty in my life that the first thing I don’t want to hear is a meaningless statement about how it’s going to get better or that there’s a reason for it.
Here’s the bottom line: STOP BEING LAZY. Start using the compassionate, intelligent, and thoughtful mind and heart that God gave us to help those you love. Give some thought into your statement to people who are hurting. Yes, reminding them that God is still in control can be helpful but most people are going to want a little more from their confidants and friends. Most importantly, if you’ve got nothing constructive to say or add please SHUT UP and just listen, it’ll mean infinitely more than some quick statement that may or may not offer any tangible relief.