As I newly wed in ministry (in the late 80’s)
I said things like:
“I cannot BElieve they did that!”
“This is completely WRONG!
What’s happening here?”
have calmed my quick words & taught me
how to be more helpful when my husband
(or a loved one) has to walk through
“unfair” and/or “totally hurtful” situations.
Now, I’ve only been an “adult” and in
ministry for about 23 years, but I’ve
discovered there’s some things we
shouldn’t do & then some other stuff to do that’s very helpful.
When our spouse (close friend or family member) walks through
a difficult time they do NOT need us to join in & then start doggin’
the “guilty party” or adding any “Yeah, and for instance” to their already
yucky situation. It may feel like we’re being a good friend cuz we’re
agreeing, but really we’re adding more junk to a mess. No good.
Also, if he/she thinks that we’re being hurt in this situation, too, then
they may be too quick to jump into defensive action… not good either.
Instead…listen. Hear the heart behind the words & be a safe place
for them to sound off. Gentle reminders of God’s truth are great…
but firing them off can sound more like a scolding than encouragement.
So, Listen more than talk.
Once our loved one has expressed themselves it can be fairly harmful
to begin questioning them about the “action they should take” regarding
the “other person.” For example, if I were to say, “Well, are you going
to go in there tomorrow & tell him what’s going on?” … that’s NOT a
question… that’d be me sorta “telling” him what I think he should do.
This, too, can pressure him to make react instead of making a thoughtful
Express the positive attitude that you’re going to choice in
this difficult situation. Our outlook can encourage & direct them
in a wonderfully positive way. AND…
Seriously, pray for the ones we love. Talk to Jesus about their situation,
their need and their hurt. Then, listen! We don’t need to tell Jesus how
to handle it… pray. Listen to Jesus.
Don’t misunderstand me… I’m not saying that you cannot be honest or
express yourself with the one you love. I’m simply saying that we should
listen MORE than speak. And when we speak, make sure that our words
reflect Jesus & His attitude… and that our own hurt or anger isn’t spilling
out all over them. (I’ve found this advice very useful.)
(Some other posts that are about relationships, ministry, hurt, etc, are