"...and I will dwell in the House of the LORD forever!"

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Articulate Adversaries

A tough and trying economy challenges many aspects of life. But, there is one heartbreaking factor that always accompanies a bad economy, high unemployment. America is presently witnessing the highest unemployment rate since the Great Depression. With capable men and women suffering from a lack of income, it’s difficult to know what we should say.

If you are an employer, or if you are a friend of the unemployed, here are five things you should never say, according to BusinessWeek.com:

1) “You have no one to blame but yourself. You just didn’t try hard enough.” (Hold your employees accountable, but don’t slash their integrity and self confidence!)

2) “This is just as hard for me as it is you.” (Without a doubt, it’s always harder to be fired than to fire. Don’t ask an employee who is looking at unemployment to feel your pain)

3) “This is not the right job for you. When you get the right job, you will thank me”. (How will they thank you?)

4) “I know how you feel.” (Unless you have been fired recently, you DON’T know how they feel. And if you have been fired recently, now is NOT the time to share that experience)

5) “You will always be a part of the corporate family.” (This will make the employee think, “Oh, good. Will I still get the newsletter?”)

But even when we look beyond Business America and into the family of God, there are many people who are hurting. As Christians, we have the responsibility to lift them up with words of encouragement. But even though we have great intentions filled with love, we don’t always give the most comforting words. We try to relate to the afflicted in ways which we can’t, and when we can’t, we shouldn’t try. Sometimes, our words can do more harm than good.

So, what should we say to comfort friends and family when we find ourselves at loss for words? I have always found these words effective: “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin.” (Hebrews 4:15)

When we can’t understand, Jesus always can!