Guest Blog: “20 Sayings that Do Not Bring Comfort”

ComfortFriend

Article copyright 2015 by Jan Moore

(The following guest post is from my friend, Jan Moore. She ministers as a volunteer chaplain at the same hospital where I work, and is a very involved in other ministry in her own church and community. She and her husband recently experienced the loss of their son. Below she shares 20 things not to say to someone who has just lost a loved one. I’m reminded that Job’s three friends actually comforted Job when they sat with him and wept with him in silence ( Job 2:11-13). It was when they opened their mouths that they caused Job pain. May Jan’s list below be a caution to each of us before we open our mouths.)

My son Jeffrey died three months ago at age 24.  His death was unexpected and tragic and left his family shocked and devastated.  Our lives have been changed forever.

I have been blessed by the comforting presence of my priest, fellow chaplains, good friends.  They have known that there are no words that can truly help so they show their love by hugs, touches, and smiles. They do not need details and do not expect me to ‘get over this and move on’ any time soon.

The comments I have listed below were made by people who I also consider friends:  fellow churchgoers, neighbors, relatives.  I do believe they thought they were being of comfort, but they were not.  I do not believe they meant to cause me even more pain, but they did.

I know some bother me because of my own theology but still I think we need to be sensitive to everyone’s beliefs. Here is the list:

  1. You don’t seem to be yourself anymore.  What’s wrong?
  2. You aren’t smiling as much as you used to.  What’s wrong?
  3. God wanted another angel in heaven.
  4. Jeffrey was too good for this world.
  5. God doesn’t give you anything you can’t handle.
  6. God will lead you to it and then He’ll get you through it.
  7. Jeffrey would not want you to be sad (or grieving or angry).
  8. God is testing your faith.
  9. God is testing your call to ministry.
  10. I wonder why God took Jeffrey and not (fill in the blank).
  11. Now you have your own guardian angel looking after you.
  12. Now what exactly caused his death?
  13. I understand exactly how you feel.  My grandma died when she was 96 and it just killed me.
  14. Stay busy and you’ll feel better quicker.
  15. Well, at least you have one child left.
  16. How’s your marriage doing?  A lot of times, people divorce after the death of a child.
  17. Well, it won’t be that long before you join Jeffrey in heaven.
  18. Was Jeffrey baptized?
  19. Where’s God when you need Him?
  20. Why did God let this happen?

What the Bible Says about Homosexuality May Surprise You

What the Bible Says about Homosexuality May Surprise You.

The purpose of marriage, according to Genesis

The purpose of marriage, according to Genesis.

Poem: “Glory”

Originally posted on Bob Rogers:

Copyright 2014 by Bob Rogers

SunsetBrunswick

Glory

Things from nothing

Man from dust

Sin from perfection

Evil from innocence

Promise from faith

Hope from belief

Laws from above

Commands from Him

Failure from obedience

Despair from hope

Love for hate

Blood for anyone

Light in darkness

Peace in war

Crying to joy

Death to life

Glory

X

X

X

X

(If you see a video ad below this post, please understand that I have no control over these ads, and that I do not necessarily endorse the product.)

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How to Deal with Difficult People

Originally posted on Bob Rogers:

Copyright 2012 by Bob Rogers

Your child is wronged by another child, and when you try to talk to her parents, they tell you off.
A fellow church member gets angry with you and refuses to talk to you.
A friend always interrupts you, and you want to be friends but you always get frustrated with the conversation.
A fellow worker never shows you respect, always going over your head.
How do you deal with difficult people?

Whenever there was a disagreement in church business meetings or family squabbles, my Grandfather Rogers loved to quote Romans 12:18, “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.”

This verse is the pivotal verse in the passage, Romans 12:14-21. It recognizes two important facts about dealing with difficult people: 1) we should live at peace with people, and 2) it’s not always possible. In fact…

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The big preacher who made a grand entrance

Originally posted on Bob Rogers:

Copyright 2012 by Bob Rogers

A large church had a rather large guest preacher one Sunday who made a grand entrance like none other.
The congregation had just heard a concert by a gospel band. The big preacher had been sitting behind the stage, enjoying the music. The music was over, and it was time for him to preach.
Since he was sitting behind the stage, the preacher had to step over wires and chords running to the keyboard, electric guitars and speakers that were used by the band. Unfortunately, as he made his way to the pulpit, his foot caught in one of the wires.
As he lost his balance, the portly preacher stumbled, but did not fall. Almost in slow motion, the preacher prevailed and sailed across the stage, maintaining enough balance to keep from falling, but not enough balance to straighten up. With arms flailing, he finally…

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David the King Meets B.B. King

Originally posted on Bob Rogers:

Copyright 2015 by Bob Rogers

DavidHarpB.B. King Celebrates His 10,000th Concert

Imagine if legendary blues singer B.B. King died and went to heaven, and met King David, singer of the psalms. What would their conversation be like? Here’s how I imagine it:

B.B.: Are you David? Nice to meet you, sir. My name is Riley B. King, but my friends call me B.B.

David: Why do they call you B.B.?

B.B.: It stands for Blues Boy. You know, David, we have a lot in common!

David: What’s that?

B.B.: Both born in small towns, you in Bethlehem, and me in Itta Bena, Mississippi. Both played stringed instruments, you the harp and me the guitar. This is my guitar, Lucille. And we both sang the blues.

David: I’m glad you recognize that. When people think of my psalms, they may think of praises to God. But if you really read the psalms, you will find that many…

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Book review: “Mark Twain: A Life” by Ron Powers

TwainPowers I just finished reading Mark Twain: A Life, by Pulitzer-prize winning biographer, Ron Powers (Free Press, 2006). This is an in-depth biography of the famous writer and humorist Samuel Clemens, better known by his pen name, Mark Twain. At times, it seems too detailed, as it covers more than I wanted to know. Nevertheless, Powers does an excellent job of helping the reader understand the complexities of the man, and he also helps the reader understand American culture during the 19th century, as the two are so closely intertwined. This is a biography, not a literary critique, so Powers does not put heavy emphasis on analyzing Twain’s writing, although he does give a balanced discussion of how literary critics have judged his works, with special attention to his greatest work, Huckleberry Finn.
Some new things that I learned about Twain:
*he traveled extensively as a young adult and for the rest of his life
*he had a lost love that he never forgot
*he had a fierce temper
*he believed in God, but was turned off by the hypocrisy he saw in church, causing him to struggle in his faith
*he was a sucker for bad investments, but famously paid off his debts
*he had friendships with famous Americans, such as Henry Ward Beecher, William Dean Howells, Helen Keller, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Ulysses S. Grant
*he almost fought a battle against Ulysses S. Grant, but later became a close friend of Grant, and published Grant’s autobiography
*during his latter years, he turned to political satire
*the context of some of his famous one-liners
Speaking of one-liners, I must mention a few of my favorites from the book:
“Preachers are always pleasant company when they are off duty.”
“I worked in a bookstore, but didn’t like it because the customers bothered me so much I could not read with any comfort.”
“He would rather decline two drinks than one German verb.”
“The new hobbies in the election year 1876 are politics and pornography. But I repeat myself.”
“Do you know why Balaam’s ass spoke Hebrew? Because he was a he-brayist.”
“When I was a boy everybody was poor but didn’t know it; and everybody was comfortable and did know it.”
“You can’t pray a lie– I found that out.” (quote of Huckleberry Finn)
“The report of my death was an exaggeration.”
If you love Mark Twain and American history, and you don’t mind reading a long book, you will enjoy this biography. If you don’t want to wade through 736 pages to learn about Twain’s life, or if you are more interested in a literary analysis of his writings than the story of his life, you may want to read a different biography.

Top Ten Things NOT to Give for Mother’s Day

Originally posted on Bob Rogers:

 Copyright 2012 by Bob Rogers

Like many men, I am not a very good gift-giver. I wait until the last minute and run out to Wal-Mart. Or I get a gift that I think she wants, instead of what she really wants. When I was a young husband, I got my wife an iron for her birthday. It’s due to God’s grace and my wife’s patience that we’re still married. Some men reading this just asked, “What’s so bad about giving her an iron?” So for you guys who don’t know any better, here is a list of the Top Ten Things NOT to give your mother on Mother’s Day:
10. A plaque from Kroger that says “World’s Greatest Mom.”
9. A “God Loves Mothers” ballpoint pen that they give out at church on Mother’s Day.
8. A membership at the YMCA.
7. A toaster.
6. A mop and a…

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The power of a mother’s prayer

PrayerMotherDaughter

Copyright 2015 by Bob Rogers
Many people have had mothers who prayed for them. The great theologian, Augustine, attributed his Christian conversion to the prayers of his mother, Monnica. Evangelist Billy Graham said, “What a comfort it was for me to know that no matter where I was in the world, my mother was praying for me.”
A Jewish mother named Hannah was a model of motherly prayer. The Bible says in the Book of First Samuel, chapter one, that Hannah was distraught because she could not have a child, and went to the tabernacle of the Lord to pray. There she met the priest Eli, who told her, “Go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant the petition you’ve requested from Him” (1 Samuel 1:17). Later, she gave birth to her son, Samuel, the prophet who anointed the first two rulers of Israel, King Saul and King David.
If we look closely at this scripture, we will see four reasons why this mother’s prayer was so powerful:
1. It was a broken prayer. Verse 10 says, “Deeply hurt, Hannah prayed…” God rejects pride, but he often responds to brokenness and humility, especially in our prayers. He did so for King Hezekiah (2 Kings 20:1-6), He did for Hannah, and He has done so for many mothers who cry out to God for their families.
2. It was a committed prayer. Verse 11 says that Hannah prayed, “I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life, and his hair will never be cut.”” She was promising God that Samuel would take a Nazirite vow, a special commitment of service to God symbolized by uncut hair and drinking no wine. Many people call on God but don’t want God to call on them. Hannah readily offered her own son to the call of God on his life. God loves the prayers of mothers like Hannah, who are completely committed to the Lord.
3. It was a consistent prayer. Verse 12 says, “…she continued praying in the LORD’s presence…” She didn’t simply toss up one prayer in the air and give up when she didn’t get an instant answer. Hannah was like Epaphras, whom the apostle Paul praised because “he is always contending for you in his prayers” (Colossians 4:12). There is power in the persistent prayers of mothers who continue to cry out.
4. It was a believing prayer. Verse 18 says that after Eli blessed her, “Hannah went on her way; she ate and no longer looked despondent.” It was some time later before she conceived and gave birth to a son (1 Samuel 1:20), but long before she had her answer, she believed. The Bible promises that God answers when we pray in faith (Matthew 21:22), in the name of Jesus (John 16:23), and the will of God (1 John 5:14). A mother named Hannah prayed like that, and in every generation, men and women have discovered the same power in prayer. We don’t always get the things for which we pray– or, we may receive answers in ways other than what we prefer, but there is no doubt that there is power in prayer.
On Mother’s Day, we honor women like Hannah. But the greatest honor we can give our mothers– whether living or not– is to pray to the same God who desires to pour out His love on us in answer to our prayers.

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