Reactionary tendencies seem to prevail amongst us. For example, when confronted with anxiety or stress, I am often faced with liturgy such as “anxiety shows a lack of faith” or “lay your burdens on Him”. Of course, those are the obvious (and correct) solutions, but are we spouting off Scripture as a consequence of pointing out the obvious to a “weaker sibling”, and are we, even moreso, unintentionally being insensitive in our statements of counsel?
When faced with stress and anxiety, the first thing I do (or try to do) is pray. Of course, sometimes it is an autopilot reaction, which is not necessarily a bad thing, but how often do I really, seriously get “down on my knees” and plead for help, as it were? In much the same way, when we are speaking to others or offering counsel, do we offer a gut reaction, or do we actually think about the person we are advising, and how often do we put ourselves in their situation (i.e. “bearing their burdens”)? And then there is our approach: are our words “seasoned with salt”? I sometimes wonder if the saying “rubbing salt in the wounds” is a misconstrued derivative of the original Biblical anecdote, as the advice I sometimes get is more of a sharp slap in the face as opposed to an arm around the shoulder…
Last thing I remember, I was
Running for the door
I had to find the passage back
To the place I was before
‘Relax,’ said the night man,
We are programmed to receive.
You can checkout any time you like,
but you can never leave…
The tragedy today is that many brothers and sisters have adopted a cut and dried approach when it comes to offering help (or not offering help!) to those in need. We are more apt to judge instead of using judgement. Will they “know we are Christians by our love” or by the sharpness and snide tone of our words?