Tag Archives: friendship

Always say something.

9 May

Situations arise in life when I’m tempted to be at a total loss for words.

* Sometimes it’s because the situation is so devastating, I feel like any words I offer will still just be pathetic at best to fix anything.

* Other times it’s because I’ve never experienced a similar situation before so I don’t even know how I’d feel to know what to say to someone else.

* Then there are the times when I feel like I don’t know the person well enough to say anything.

* And still yet, the times when I’m too busy forming an opinion about the person or the situation to put aside my own judgments and just accept them in the moment.

Ouch. That last one stings a little.

I know many people who have refused to attend a funeral because they just didn’t know what to say.

Or who avoid phone calls because they feel inadequate to offer any help.

Or who just disappear from people’s lives because the fear of saying the wrong thing seems greater than trying to help someone through life.

And even those who remain silent because they’ve down played the situation with prideful thoughts like “I wouldn’t do it that way, I would have, if it was ME, they shouldn’t have, it’s sad that they, if they were smart they’d….”

Here’s the thing, when someone is opening up and sharing with you, no matter what the situation – SAY SOMETHING!

Yes, there are wrong things to say. I’m not advising you throw all wisdom out and just start being a blabbing fool.

FOR EXAMPLE:

You should never tell someone who has lost someone “eh, you’ll get over it with time.”

Or someone who has just been diagnosed with an illness “oh no, you’re going to miss your grandchildren growing up if you die.”

Or someone who had a miscarriage “it’s OK. There was probably something wrong with the baby and you wouldn’t want a special needs child.”

Or someone whose house was just foreclosed on “well, if you would have eaten more ramen noodles instead of other food maybe you wouldn’t be in this situation.”

When someone is opening up, it’s not an invitation to judge. It’s a cry for support, love, prayers, understanding, empathy, sympathy, and compassion.

Believe it or not, I actually believe it’s worse to remain silent, than not to have the perfect magical words.

There have been times in my life when people didn’t know what to say, and maybe even fumbled over their words, or said very little. But I always appreciated that they were trying to love me in the midst of my hurting.

Things that are always good to say:

I’m sorry.

This must be so hard.

I’ve never been in your shoes but I’m here for you, even if that just means crying together.

Life is so hard.

I can’t wait until Heaven when there is no more trials or pain.

I’m praying for you.

Can we pray together right now?

I love you.

My heart is breaking for you.

I’d like to help with clothes, food, rides to treatment (whatever the needs are)

Saying nothing can leave the person feeling along, judged, embarrassed or ashamed.

And in the middle of someone hurting whether it’s self-induced or an unpredictable tragedy – it is very important how we respond.

Practical Application:

No matter what, when someone is opening up to me – SAY SOMETHING! Always respond. And always do it in love.

Picking up other people’s offenses.

22 Feb

If all you ever hear about someone comes from his/her enemy, chances are, all you know about him/her is the mistakes they’ve made and how someone else perceived those mistakes.

You’re usually not hearing anything about what the person speaking to you may or may not have done to the other person they are talking about to participate or encourage the negative behavior, but you’ll get explicit details about the failures of the person that has hurt them or that they don’t like.

We REALLY need to caution ourselves from forming opinions about people when 90% of what we know about them is negative.  Let me be VERY clear about this.  VERY, VERY, VERY few people who walk this Earth are 90% evil and malicious.  EVERYONE is SO MUCH MORE than the mistakes that they make and the hurt feelings they’ve caused.

Imagine your enemy painting a picture of you.  Would it be accurate to who you really are as a person?

Tomorrow night is going to be tricky for me.

I knew a girl who I started to build a friendship with.  She then created a much more intense and deeper friendship with some who didn’t like me AT ALL!  Quickly, this girl changed her opinions of me.  And I never heard from her again and started getting dirty looks and the cold shoulder.

About 6-8 months ago, she spoke to a mutual friend of ours and basically questioned her on if she should be friends with me.  It felt like  a betrayal to the friend of theirs that doesn’t like me at all, whom they should be *more* loyal to.  And based on what she had heard about me (NOT by experience, SOLELY by someone elses opinions) she felt I was a bad friend, couldn’t be trusted, and wasn’t worthy to be around.

Thankfully, my really awesome friend told her in a kind way that she wasn’t going to talk about me, and she was going to maintain a friendship with me.

Well, tomorrow night, it just so happens, I’ll be riding in a car with the mutual friend, and the girl who decided she doesn’t like me (the previous enemy will not be with us) for 40 minutes.

I don’t have any bitter feelings at all.  But I bet she’s going to be squirming in her seat because she told this person that she shouldn’t be friends with me, and yet, she’s going to have to witness first hand that we are indeed, still friends.

Practical Application:

– COVER TOMORROW IN PRAYER! It’s going to be an awkward situation and I really want to be prepared to show grace and mercy in the way that Christ would have me afford this situation.

– Spend some time thinking today about people that I have negative opinions of that are solely or mostly based on the opinions and stories of someone else, (especially those hurt by the person they are talking about!)  Repent of that judgment.  Get my head screwed on straight.  Apologize if needed.

I have some juicy gossip for you…

9 Sep

So & so did such & such & I felt/think _____ about it.

No one is exempt from this sin.  Male, female, young, old, this deadly little sin is so horrific & sneaky that most people don’t even realize they are gossiping or being gossiped to when it happens.

I’m going to try to tackle a few angles of this topic but I want to start by making a very strong point about the severe danger involved in gossip situations.

Can  you name the time when we are most likely to give into temptation to gossip about someone? Yes, there is a time when all people are MORE inclined to stumble into the sin than other times in their life.  It happens when someone hurts us.

Think about it.  When our spouse hurts us.  When our parents hurt us.  When our boss hurts us.  When our friend hurts us.  When our in-laws hurt us.

It is really hard for us to resist the urge to share in grave detail the situation when we feel hurt, disappointed, or wrongly judged or treated. Something happens in us that demands for our side to be heard.  We really desire some justification to the situation.  We want someone to agree with us that how we feel is validated and only natural.  We want someone to tell us “we have rights” and we don’t have to put up with it. Or at the very least, feel sorry for us for how bad we have it or the sad situation we have to put up with.

We may not even mean to “gossip” when we do.  When we are gossiping though, we tell intimate details.  Think about this.  When your spouse wrongs you and you share it with a friend,  do you leave out even a single detail?  Usually not.  That friend probably knows every single sentence that was spoken and all of your emotions and feelings of being completely devastated by the situation.

When reconciliation happens with your spouse.  How often do you share every single detail?  What usually happens is we say “Oh, he said this and I said this and we worked it all out. We’re good.”

Now let’s think about what happened for the friend who heard the gossip.

1.) They rarely hear all the incredible details of every day life, but they have now heard intimate and private mistakes and failures about someone and how intensely it hurt someone else that they care about.

2.) They get a quick spun version of the reconciliation, which was probably full of some admission of fault on your part and how much you might have hurt your spouse too (because fighting is NEVER one-sided) and the situation can appear to be that you just “gave in and put up with that jerk.”

3.) Their perception of your spouse is based mostly on failures.

This happens as much as, if not MORE often with friendships.  When we talk about people we don’t like to other people, we rarely give a glimpse of any good qualities they may possess.  We make them look despicable, evil, malicious, violent, untrustworthy, dishonest, unfaithful, and cruel.

We are allowing our feelings about their mistakes to define them.  God help us all if anyone only has a vision of who we are based solely on how someone else feels about our mistakes.  None of us would be loved by anyone.  Because ALL OF US, regardless of who we are, are more than the mistakes we make.

Ponder this for a minute.  Think about someone you don’t get along with very well.  Someone that you might mix with like oil and water.  Now imagine how they might make you sound to someone.  You might make them sound just as ugly when you talk about them.

So it leads me to ask, who is painting the true picture? The person you hear from first?  The person you are friends with? (Because you know your friend, there is NO WAY they could possibly be leading you on by their raw emotions, all they speak is facts in the midst of their hurt and they never ever hurt other people.)

There is no way any person is truly describing the situation in the most honest form when they are:

1.)  Placing all the blame on someone else.

2.) Trying to negatively alter your perception of someone.

3.) Exposing someones mistakes as the definition of who they *are* as a human

4.) Seem to be gaining satisfaction in getting dirt off their chest or fuel to empower themselves.

5.) Sharing rumors or facts about someone other than themselves that are not edifying to the person they are talking about.

I would love to say that this only happens among unbelievers.  But that would be a bold face LIE! Believers can be trapped in this battle as quickly as if not more quickly than unbelievers.  Somehow, Satan has convinced us to be crafty in naming it something else.  And we have bought into the notion that as long as we do that, it is no longer gossip or sin.

We’ve disguised gossip as:

~ A prayer request.

~ Venting.

~ Seeking advice from a friend.

~ Just giving someone a heads up of the situation.

I think seeking advice or counsel from someone when you just feel overwhelmed or defeated by a certain person or situation is definitely a wise thing to do.  But this takes a lot of prayer and discretion.  Some things to keep in mind.

1.) One person is enough. (Unless they tell you they feel like they cannot help you in this situation and would like to bring in someone who has more expertise {like dealing with an abusive spouse or something like that}) If you need to tell more than one person, you need to check to make sure your motives REALLY ARE to seek help and counsel, or something from the earlier mentioned list.

2.) Choose someone who DOES NOT KNOW the person you are having an issue with. (You don’t want to alter someone elses perception of someone or give them a reason to find fault or offense.) Don’t go to someone in your church about someone else in your church.  Don’t go to a family member about another family member.  This is especially true of your spouse.  If you share your deepest hurts with your mom, chances are she is going to have a harder time not judging and also forgiving even long after you’re over the problem.

3.) Choose someone who will help you see YOUR sin in the situation.  Many fights between spouses escalate or in some way involve the husband feeling disrespected or the wife feeling unloved.  When telling the story, you want someone who will not be bias, and will help you see where you can correct your behavior as well as help you let go of your own hurt and show grace.  All too often we want to choose someone who will throw their hands in the air and say “You shouldn’t put up with that.  I can’t believe he/she treated you that way.  You deserve better.  I can’t believe what a jerk they are.”  This is NOT Godly council.

Practical Application:

~ Confess any instances where I have been or currently am caught up in gossip.

~ Pray over and make a list of anyone I may have wrongly judged based solely on the testimony of someone who didn’t like them or was hurt by them.

~ When tempted to talk about someone, take time to make sure I have the right reasons in mind and I really consider who would be a wise choice for the situation at hand.

~ When listening to my friends, be aware of the “why” behind what they are sharing, and stop the conversation if it is not to seek true Godly help, including seeing their own mistakes and sins.

~ Be the kind of friend who GIVES Godly council instead of fuels the hurt fire.

 

I’d love some feedback on this topic.  I know we all have a story about gossip. Do you have some tips or truths I might have left out?