Monday, August 6, 2012

"Dumbing Down the Scripture"

(the title of this post is quoted from Beverly)

We talked a few Sundays (in ReCharge-led by Shannon) ago about things people say when they don't know what else to say.  Many remarks are made in sad, hopeless, desperate situations.  The death of a parent, sibling, child, or loved one can be awful.  The loss of a job, bad week, or anything negative can bring you down.  Often, we seek aid from others in these situations, and are heartbroken at the responses received.
"Everything happens for a reason" and "God has a plan" are often the first responses people think to say.  Another is the ever famous "God will only give you what you can handle and no more."

When you're in the middle of a difficult situation, honestly, nothing said is going to make you feel better.  If you choose to seek help from others, be prepared for the rehearsed responses that you will receive.  For me, a simple "I'm sorry" accompanied with a big hug always makes me feel a little better.

But, in Recharge that Sunday, we talked about better responses to have in those difficult situations.  With the previous statements, we are "dumbing down the scripture" (to quote Beverly).  When we are offering advice, we should be armed with the Word of God.

  • Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.  But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. 1 Peter 4:12-13 NIV
    • Friends, when life gets really difficult, don't jump to the conclusion that God isn't on the job.  Instead, be glad that you are in the very thick of what Christ experienced.  This is a spiritual refining process, with glory just around the corner. 1 Peter 4:12-13 The Message 
  • The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still. Exodus 14:14 NIV
    • God will fight the battle for you.  And you? You keep your mouths shut! Exodus 14:14 The Message 
  • As for me, I will always have hope; I will praise you more and more. Psalm 71:14 NIV 
I feel that the above verses are more eloquently scripted than anything I could come up with.  So often, people ask me for advice.  I struggle so much with the right words to say -We all do.

I know that so many of you who know us in real life have often struggled with finding the right words to say in our struggling scenarios.  We've heard many variations of "everything happens for a reason" and "it will happen."  I know that Brandon and I are not the only ones who hear things like this.  There are so many sad situations in which people have no idea what to say.  We are always thankful and receptive to any kind words that you have to offer  We will never "call you out" on your advice.  If we don't like your advice, we will most likely tell you. (haha)  But do know that we respect and look for your advice and understanding in our situation.  And when you don't know what to say, we never forget all of the "I'm sorry," "I just don't understand why," and hugs that you give us when we're down.

*( I know that I've used the quoted statements thinking that I was helping before.  I aim to never use those statements as advice again.  If you have ever said any of the quoted statements to either of us in the past, please don't think that we remember.  Chances are, we don't.  Also, please don't think that I'm aiming this at you either.  I just hope that I can learn to use better words along with scripture when helping others.)

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As for me, I will always have hope; I will praise you more and more.
Psalm 71:14