Words We Say to Those in Pain.

When reading about what to say to people when they are suffering, I would say the most common advice given is to just listen. Don’t give advice, don’t quote scripture and don’t say it was God’s will.

I agree with this, up to a point. The day after a loved one dies is not the time to do a lot of talking. It is best to listen and say how sorry you are this happened and you are sorry for their pain. Later on, if the person asks you for help you could tell them how God helped you in a similar situation or perhaps give them a book that helped you.

Some people are even offended if a person says to them, “I am praying for you.” I think they are being too touchy if this offends them. It is a great privilege to be prayed over by a believer. It opens heaven’s doors to do more and more for you. (In my opinion.) It is so easy to offend people when it is the last thing you ever want to do. (I have hurt people’s feelings on Instagram and I didn’t want to do that at all.)

But I have learned a lot from other Christians giving me advice and quoting scripture. Joyce Meyer gives tons of solid advice on what to do with sad and negative feelings. Praying, reading the Bible (especially the Psalms) and listening to Joyce’s advice has finally helped me see I can fight depression and win. I didn’t think it was possible before I watched her program.

I’ve written about this in other posts, so I won’t go into detail on what Joyce says; but I was thinking about what God has said to those going through a hard time. I don’t think people would necessarily agree with God.

Job suffered the loss of all he owned and all of his 10 children. When his friends came to visit him, they said nothing for 7 days. They just sat with him. I’m sure this was comforting to Job, but silence can’t last forever.

Now when they did finally speak, they said all the wrong things. In fact, they blamed Job himself for his troubles. They said he must have some secret sin and God was punishing him. My advice is to never say this to anyone. Let the Holy Spirit do the job of convicting of sin.

So finally, God shows up. Did he say comforting words? No! He basically said that Job had no right to question why God did what he did. He was the creator and God of the whole universe. He was wise and knew what he was doing.

When Jeremiah was crying and complaining to God about his miserable life (and it was very miserable), God said, “If you can’t keep up with the foot soldiers; how can you run with the horsemen?” In other words, things were going to get worse so you better man-up!

What did Jesus say to people who were sad? He said, “Don’t cry,” to a woman who lost her son and then raised him from the dead. He said, “Don’t be afraid,” quite a few times. When the disciples were terrified of drowning in a storm on a lake he said, “Why were you afraid; where is your faith?

When the disciples were sad about Jesus saying he was going away, he said, “Let not your heart be troubled, you believe in God, believe also in me.” Then he told them he would prepare homes for them in heaven and would return.

When Martha and Mary told Jesus their brother would not have died if he had been there, Jesus said, “Your brother will rise again.” I think people today would not like what God and Jesus said to people when they were suffering.

A few years ago, I was suicidal and took some pills. I survived, but wasn’t too happy about it. The next day I lay in bed and said to God, “Please get me out of here!” God spoke to my heart and said, “I could do that. But what if I told you that if you, live you will be a help to people.” I thought about it and said, “Okay, although I don’t see who I could ever help anyone.” Then he said, “You have need of endurance,” which is somewhere in the Bible. “Endurance!” I said. Who cares about endurance?”

But I kept that word in my heart, even though I didn’t care about it myself. I figured if God cared about it then I should care. Eventually, I began praying for endurance. Now that word pops off the page when I see it in the Bible. Yes, I can see I don’t have endurance. I want everything to be done and over and be in heaven with Jesus. I don’t want to suffer again as long as I live. I don’t want to go to one more funeral.

But I also remember how God was my comfort at those funerals. His grace was ample. His comfort overwhelmed me each time. Knowing this helps me to endure; and praying about endurance gives me hope he will give it to me when the time comes that I need it.

I do think we should be careful what we say to people. All the time. But we all make mistakes; none of us is perfect. I think we need to be forgiving of others if we think they said the wrong thing to us. We should not be touchy and quick to judge. We shouldn’t never go around telling people what so-and-so said. I’ve been guilty of that. My mother used to tell me, “It is hard for me to take offense. I always think they didn’t really mean what they said.” She gave grace to the person and I like that.

Marriage, Love and Words.

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My husband and I on our wedding day. (1977)

I was posting earlier about the words I speak and also about not getting irritated. The Lord is truly working because today, when I was irritated with my husband I was immediately impressed to tell him he was right in that I had no reason to feel that way. He was trying to show me how to drain the water from a can of sliced mushrooms. I wanted to do it my own way and he wouldn’t give me the can. He is a methodical, practical person who thinks everything should be done in a certain way. I am a fly-by-night person who wings it a lot because I think it will save time; I do something one way and then maybe next time I’ll do it another way. We drive each other crazy.

Anyway, I rejoice in how God is helping me to quickly see my errors. I suppose this is why it is important to talk with God about our faults, but also not worry about them. He will fix things. It is fun to watch him work on my stubborn heart.

I remember many years ago, I was going for walks each day. My husband was on vacation and asked to come along. I was happy for the company. We stopped at the end of the driveway and he asked, “Where are we going? What’s the route you take?”  I told him, “I never plan a route; I just start walking.”

He couldn’t live with that. It was too much for him, so he said, “Let’s plan a route.” I was irritated, but I could see we would be going nowhere if I didn’t go along. We planned a route.

God has shown me why my husband doesn’t like spontaneity. His childhood was chaotic; he never knew when his father would beat him. He would sometimes be woken out of sleep to be beaten. One time he was brushing his teeth and his father smashed his head into the sink. So, my husband needs all things planned. No surprises.

This is where understanding and compassion comes into play in a marriage. We may not understand our spouse; we may think they are crazy, but there are always, always reasons for what people do and how they look at life. Planning things is not a big enough deal to fight about. Of course, if your husband treats you like crap, that is worth dealing with. It must be dealt with but in a loving way. As they say, “Pick your fights.”

My husband has to put up with my craziness too. I look on the dark side of life; every time my daughter drives all the way to Kelowna to visit, I picture her in a big car crash. I read the news and figure the world is falling apart. My husband? A total optimist. Naturally. We call him, “Walmart is always open.” because if he wants it to be open, it is. (He told my daughter it was open til 10:00 pm and it wasn’t.)

I want to be a blessing to my husband. I want to always be kind, loving and understanding. I want to always speak with good words, words of encouragement and love. God has helped me do that all through our marriage; but I was still falling far short of what I could be. I can see God is helping me do better and that makes me happy.

If You Can’t Say Something Nice…

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My last post ended with me deciding to have a talk with my husband about our marriage. We did have that talk and everything has been good since then. We both apologized and listened to each other’s explanations; I’m glad we worked things out.

This morning, I was thinking about some sermons I had heard by Joyce Meyer on the words we use and how we speak. I realized how important words are; I realized I am not careful enough with my words. I am quick to speak and slow to hear – the exact opposite of,Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.”  James 1:19

I’m like Nathaniel, who when he heard about Jesus said, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?”  (John 1:46) Negative, thoughtless words – that’s me.

But even though those were his first thoughts, Nathaniel did go see Jesus and after speaking with him said, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!”  John 1:49

When we talk with others, our words should be uplifting, positive and loving. Paul said,Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.”  Colossians 4:6

Jesus said, “A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. What you say flows from what is in your heart.”   


So, I have some work to do about my mouth and what it speaks. I cannot change myself, because as Jesus said, “Without me, you can do nothing.”  John 15:5  But I can give my heart and my mouth to Jesus and ask him to fill them with good things and to not speak so fast, but to listen and think first. This may take Jesus a long time to do in me since I’m a slow learner – but I know he is patient with me and with everyone.

“The tongue can bring death or life; those who love to talk will reap the consequences.” 

 Proverbs 18:21