words that do not help

probably someone has written about this somewhere, but I do not want to research or Google or whatever.

when I hurt, there are words that are the reverse of helping and encouragement. those are simple words that many people use quite a lot to express a sort of sympathy and support and encouragement when they meet someone who hurts or suffers.

the words are: ‘I’m sure up there somebody has a plan for your life’ – or a variation thereof

those words are awfully discouraging and extremely painful to hear.

there are a few reasons behind this:

first, it is one of the most often used clichés, especially when one wants to sound wise and spiritual, but actually has nothing to say. empty words hurt more than silence.

second, this expression would have me believe that there is God who sits down at his desk (metaphorically speaking) and plans for my suffering. this would make God an abusive entity able to desire my pain, able to deliberately hurt me. such God would be evil and in direct contradiction with the God I have come to believe and trust. so these simple words hurt my identity on a deep level.

I do think that God does have a plan how to deal with the evil and pain and hurt in my life, but he is not the cause of suffering. something else is. and God deals with stuff in his own ways.

You might ask, if ‘I know that God has a plan for your life’ is a bad and destructive way to show sympathy and console me, then what is a better way? and I will answer:

tell me that God is indeed by my side as I hurt and walk in the valley of darkness. witness to his goodness and faithfulness. share the painful silence with me, and do not disturb it with meaningless sound.

for he is good and merciful.

say something

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