“Shut down.” 
This was an expression my nephew used to get around his family’s rule of not saying, “Shut Up.”

Recently I heard a program on Christian radio where the man being interviewed said something like, “Scripture quoting people need to go away.” He and his family had gone and are still going through a huge and heart-breaking difficulty. Their son had been arrested for drug use. The young man was raised in a faith-filled home with Christian values and a strong family support system. In spite of that, he had become addicted to drugs and is now serving time.

Painful for all. 

“Bible versing” individuals are well-intended. (Have you noticed, often these words are delivered with a Cheshire cat-like smile and the obligatory hug?) But… the person on the receiving end feels as if he has just been smacked with a pious and judgmental sermon. Another hit to a person or family already bruised and beat-up. 
This man wanted those folks to –Shut down. 

I can relate.

There have been crises where I have yearned to hear God’s Word and cling to Biblical promises. Riding in the ambulance down the mountain- praying we get to the hospital in time. Sitting in the Trauma 10 Emergency Surgery Waiting Room-praying my child will come through the operation, holding my girl’s hand while she lay in her hospital bed recuperating, or sitting with my dad while he was breathing his last earthly breath. Those are the moments I have craved words from the Big, Black Book. In those spaces I desire to recall God’s word and craft my prayers from Scripture to remind me of God’s goodness and His healing power.

Then the inspired Word brings hope in the midst of tragedy or sadness.
But… times when one of my kids is going through a trial-due to his or her own choosing and the rest of the family is in a place of suffering due to those choices, encouragement, at least for me (and for the dad on the radio), is not found in someone giving me “Godly advice” or casually spitting out a memorized passage.
Please… well- meaning Christian folks….shut down.

This may not sound very Christian but please don’t toss a piece of sermonized scripture at me.(Not to be arrogant, but I do know God’s Word-like that dad- and His promises. And when I’ve been in those hard places, believe me,I have been seeking his guidance. And… frankly I’m hanging on for dear life.) Instead offer compassion and encouragement in the form of listening, asking how to pray, and offering to pray. Support my family and me by praying for protection for our marriage, faith, and family. 
When I am hurting, I need love not a lecture.
Join me in my struggle by praying to God for me.
Romans 15: 30b
Let us encourage one another.
Hebrews 10:25b

What encourages you when going through a time of suffering? 

© LoriWildenberg. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Lori Wildenberg is a licensed parent and family educator, parent coach, and co-founder of 1Corinthians13 Parenting.com. She has written 6 books including Messy Journey: How Grace and Truth Offer the Prodigal a Way Home; The Messy Life of Parenting: Powerful and Practical Ways to Strengthen Family Connections; and her most recent book, Messy Hope: Help Your Child Overcome Anxiety, Depression, or Suicidal Ideation. Contact Lori for your next event or for parent consulting or parent training courses. Lori can also be found mentoring over at the MOMS Together Group on Facebook.

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