- Spiritual superiority -- There are those who think that because you are being transparent, you are not godly. Have these people ever read the Book of Psalms? People who watch us want to know that our faith is REAL, not just some fake pretense. In being authentic in our struggles, others learn that they can wrestle with their faith and still be loved by God. What an awesome gift! Yet, it is usually those who have not had their faith tested in the same way or those who don't want to have to feel guilty about never lifting a finger to help you that are quick to point out the fact that you are not "trusting God" to the extent they think you should be.
- "I have it worse than you do." -- These are people who somehow think life is a pain contest. What they fail to realize is that your problems do not shrink just because they have problems too. Often times, they will compare apples with oranges or the superficial with the serious. They may not intend to, but these folks come across as minimizing your troubles. The message behind the message sounds much like, "You have no right to complain/feel bad about/be concerned about/grieve over your situation." They may as well call you a big cry baby to your face, because that's how it feels. Talk about "thrusts like a sword"!
- "Your child doesn't have special needs. You are a bad parent." -- Oh, these accusations are so horribly isolating, ignorant, and bone crushing! Sadly, they often come from relatives or people that rarely see you. Not at all uncommon, they often come from individuals who are not exemplary parents themselves. Parents like me will often gauge whether or not to attend events based on whether or not people who accuse like this will be there. Perhaps they are merely attempting to build themselves up by putting others down. Regardless, their words are like kerosine thrown on the fire of self-doubt that burns inside the heart of nearly every parent raising a child with a diagnosis.
- "If you would only..." (AKA "I know better than you.") -- These are people who feel certain that they have found the solution to our problem. They may have found something that works really well for their family, and thus, assume it will be the "magic bullet" for us. It can be anything from a multi-level marketing product, to a homeopathic remedy, to a vaccination, or refusing a vaccination, or gluten-free, or dye-free, or the therapy-du-jour. Whatever that thing is, it likely worked for them or their family. That's wonderful! However, these word-wounders are such zealots that they treat others who don't choose their path with disrespect and disdain.
What I really want to ask is, WHY do people think it is their God-given right to verbally inflict their opinions on others?
How much more would people think of you if you spoke LIFE into them? I mean, doesn't life itself beat us all down enough without beating down each other? Wouldn't you want your words to be considered "the words of the wise"?
I was recently interviewed for a public access show and asked what I would tell people about how to treat people raising children with special needs. In a much calmer, concise way, I conveyed these very thoughts.
Isn't that what we are always hearing these days? Schools will go to great lengths for bullying programs, while adults give full-vent to their hurtful words.
Have mercy, people! Think deeply before you recklessly use language that ends up being like "thrusts of a sword".
PRAY: Holy Spirit, stand as a guard over my mouth. Help me to use words that build another up rather than minimizing, accusing or tearing down. Also guard my heart. Help me to focus on who I am in Christ, so that the hurtful words of others more easily roll off of me. Jesus, increase your compassion in each of us.
~ Barb Dittrich