How “Sunday School” Answers Isolate Wounded Hearts

We of the conservative right rail against political correctness.

We chafe at the constraints imposed from government, media and society that make us feel strangled when we share our faith, our opinion and our life values.

“Free speech!” we cry.

Yet the church has its own form of political correctness that often silences and isolates the very ones we should be serving.

It comes in the form of quick Scriptural replies to heart cries of “Where is God?” (“He’s right here beside you, faithful and good.”)

“Why did this happen?” (“All things work together for good for those that love the Lord.”)

“I don’t think I can take it anymore!” (“I can do all things through Christ.” Or “We are more than conquerors through Jesus.”)

Where is the compassion in that?

I firmly believe that:

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,

2 Timothy 3:16

Yet, wisdom isn’t only knowing WHAT to say, it’s also discerning WHEN to say it.

wisdomSunday School answers only serve to widen the gap between hurting hearts and the hallelujah crowd.

What wounded hearts need first is understanding, not correction.  They need to know that church is a safe place to speak the pain they carry.  They need to be welcomed into a community of grace and mercy where healing can begin.

in every encounter pretty

 

Author: Melanie

I am a shepherd, wife and mother of four amazing children, three that walk the earth with me and one who lives with Jesus. This is a record of my grief journey and a look into the life I didn't choose. If you are interested in joining a community of bereaved parents leaning on the promises of God in Christ, please like the public Facebook page, "Heartache and Hope: Life After Losing a Child" and join the conversation.

12 thoughts on “How “Sunday School” Answers Isolate Wounded Hearts”

  1. You are spot on here! It hurt me so much when so many people just would throw a blanket of platitudes over me. “Everything happens for a reason”, “It’s God’s plan”, “who are we to question God’s reasoning?”, “God needed her to be his angel”, etc etc…I could go on and on. It is so hurtful to those of us suffering to hear those things. People seem to think those words they speak are comforting for us to hear. They aren’t! They may make the speaker feel better. But they push us deeper and deeper towards rage and resentment because of others lack of compassion, or inability to just be present and listen to us…

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  2. In those first months, I wanted it. I wanted it so bad- to be understood, not misunderstood. To be genuine and authentic, to spill my guts and have someone feel with me what I feel and enter into my pain. I know now, it will not happen. I truly believe we are expecting too much from the non-bereaved. We want to connect with people in a way that they are not capable of connecting and so they share a verse with us because that is all they can do. Even a good listener with a tender heart will not get it and cannot help me. Knowing this does not keep me from wishing it were so. But, I just can’t do it. Too risky. I know if I let down my fences and I reveal the whole horror that is grief I will absolutely be misunderstood by someone. I abhor being misunderstood and so I reserve my emotional storms for when I am alone with the Lord. He alone knows and understands that I am not suffering from a lapse in my faith or hiding some secret sin. My pain does not scare him. The only safe place is with him. I just don’t think I am ready to handle any of Job’s friends right now. It has taken me this long to extend forbearance to those who seemingly failed to be there for me in those early months. There are some who were there for us and did all that a person could do but even this did not do anything for the pain. I still think there are some who could have at least googled “how to help your grieving friend”. But I am too tired to dwell on it. I’m not sure it’s so much the Sunday school answers that isolate us. It is the demolishing, irreverible loss of our child that does it. Churchy correctness hurts the bereaved – it hurt me. I just don’t think there is anything we can do about it. As time passes it is becoming less important to me that people understand me. Hopefully that’s a good thing. I’m sorry, Melanie, this turned out to be such a long comment. Thank you again for you willingness to address topics that need examination and discussion. I’m just sorry we all know what we are talking about. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love that you are willing to share your thoughts here, Kim. Thank you for being honest and adding your voice to the discussion.

      You are absolutely right-in our early pain we do want desperately to be understood-but it IS too much to expect from the non-bereaved.

      My heart’s desire is not so much that I can help the non-bereaved understand (the way we understand) our pain but rather that they might know a little better how not to add to it. I’m convinced that is a skill nearly anyone can learn. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I feel these days that scripture has become platitudes that Christians use too freely without becoming emotionally invested in those around them who are hurting. Especially if they’ve been through a similar experience. My Aunt and Uncle lost their first born to brain cancer 10 years ago. I reached out to her after our loss. She responded kindly enough but she basically said look to God and then I never heard from her again. That was two yrs ago. I thought she would share more now that we’re both in the dreaded child loss club.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m sorry Charlene. Everyone deals with loss differently-even parents who lose children will have a unique journey. I’m learning that there are generational differences as well.

      It is probably an accurate observation that there are many church-going folks out there that treat Scripture as a collection of feel-good quotes and/or a self-help book. That may be part of why they use the words as platitudes.

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  4. Good post. I’ve never related to saying a pithy saying or Bible verse in such a way. But too many do it. Some of the Psalms would be so much better – often raw, real pain and emotions that honestly express the difficulties of this life, but anchor us in God too.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. So often these comments spoken at the wrong time serve to condemn rather than uplift. I’ve actually had these feelings sitting in a grief support group. So many of my fellow grievers seemed to have no trouble accepting God’s plan with the death of their child … not me. I still have to say “Not my will, but yours”.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I try very hard to take other grievers at face-value but I have had a similar experience. I sometimes wonder if even in safe spaces, some people are still trying to “say the right thing”. Are they really that much better at accepting God’s will or are they even fooling themselves or afraind to admit to themselves that it IS hard for them? I too, have to say, “Not my will, but yours”. May the Lord help all of us accept this cup of suffering. ❤

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  6. Toby Mac’s @Speak Life” is so good. Its meaning is different since losing Jeff. No matter our political persuasion, being genuine and authentic in sharing our hearts, judgement-free, is what I desire. Thank you for sharing💛💙

    Liked by 1 person

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