We have all been on the receiving end of insensitive comments from well-meaning people. In fact, I know I have even been the communicator of such comments. The truth is it is hard to know what to say to someone when they are hurting and even harder to know how to respond to the awkward comments. Yesterday, I tried to tackle the issue of our response to hurtful comments in a blog post on the CT women's blog. Here is how I set it up:
"We’ve all faced a barrage of comments from well-meaning friends. And while the words are delivered with the best of intentions, they often sting. In the days, months, and years following my miscarriage and our subsequent infertility, I faced a similar dilemma: Do I shun every person who makes an insensitive or poorly timed comment? Or is there a better way, even if it means my heart breaks a little more each time?
As the one who is hurting and suffering, it is easy to retreat. We are the victims in the situation, aren’t we? Should we really submit ourselves to more pain when life alone seems to be the source of so much heartache?
I try to encourage those on the receiving end to respond with a "thank you" rather than a "how dare you". To put it another way, part of being a Christian is learning to bear with those who offend us even in the worst of situations. I go on to say:
"The reality is, many people do not know what to say to the woman who can’t get pregnant or who longs to be married but has yet to meet Mr. Right. We often awkwardly approach the mother who loses a child, or our fear of saying the wrong thing prevents us from saying anything at all. The brokenness of this world manifests itself in a variety of ways, including from the mouths of the most well-intentioned among us.
But our response as recipients of awkward or insensitive comments should be one of grace and forbearance. While we are called to bear one another’s burdens as Christians, we are also called to forebear with those who hurt us, intentionally or unintentionally. When we are called to Christ, we are called to a family. And everyone knows that every family is a little dysfunctional—even when our Father is the creator of the universe."
The hope for all of us is that even when those closest to us fail to truly understand us and our pain, we serve a Savior who knows us better than we know ourselves. He will never leave us or say the wrong thing to us. And he is our basis for bearing with those who are less than understanding.
You can read the rest here.