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About bad advice and "good wishes" Two plusFour minusFive ways to supportTraining, learning, learning

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About bad advice and "good wishes"

Two pluses

From a theological point of view, “good wishes” are immaculate (almost). No doubt the Lord is the “source of healing” for every person. It is He who, of course, leads a person to the beautiful state of wholeness of soul and body, their proper and harmonious hierarchy, and in the limit to deification, to God-likeness. And there is no doubt that this is happening, including through prayer, the sacraments and rites of the Church.

In addition, I understand that with the help of "good wishes" visitors to our site, being mostly Christians, show their participation in the fate of a suffering person and share with him, to the best of their experience (limited, of course – each of us has limited experience. ), in the ways that helped them.

The question is – how appropriate are the "good wishes"? Do they reach their goal?

Four minuses

Let's imagine how “goodwill” is perceived by a person in distress?

1) In many of them it is implicitly thought that the cause of the problem that befell a person (for example, illness) is his sin. How fair is this?

Many works have been written on this topic. In short, we can say that the common cause of the presence of disease in people is their sinfulness, but it cannot be said that the cause of the disease of this particular person is his sin. In some cases, having healed a person, the Lord said: “Behold, you have recovered; sin no more, so that something worse is not happen to you ”(John 5:14), and in the case of the blind, He said:“ He did not sin either, nor his parents, but (this is for) that things should appear on him Of God ”(John 9: 3).

Here is what St. Theophan the Recluse writes:

“God sends another as a punishment, like epithyma, another in reason, that a man may come to his senses; otherwise, in order to get rid of the misfortune into which a man would fall if he were healthy; another, that the person showed patience and that more deserved a reward; another, to clear away what passion, and for many other reasons. ”

So, sometimes the cause of the disease is sin, and sometimes something else. Therefore, to speak or mean "repent and recover" is wrong.

2) The form in which “goodwill” is clothed is advice: one person tells the other what to do. Thus, the one who gives advice puts himself above the one who receives this advice: “you don’t understand what to do in this situation, you do wrong – I’ll tell you what to do”. The tradition of giving advice is deeply rooted in our culture (who of the young parents did not receive advice on the street about what their child needs to be removed or put on, to do or not to do, what dangers lie in wait, etc.?), But practice shows that in 90% of cases, unsolicited advice only causes irritation.

It is not for nothing that the holy fathers say that the best testimony is the testimony of life, and it is advised first of all to deal with yourself: “take the spirit of peace, and then thousands of souls will be saved near you,” said the pre-like Seraphim of Sarov.

In short, advice, in my opinion, is not the most effective way to help someone.

3) Often the advice given in a chronically difficult situation makes a person feel even weaker, incompetent, heightens feelings of anxiety and guilt. After all, those who come to our website for help are constantly forced to struggle: with poor health, with the indifference of others, with an imperfect medical system, with a bureaucratic machine … They are exhausted, depressed, often feel unsuccessful in this struggle; it seems to them that if they were smarter, could “get settled like others”, earned more money, etc., they would have been able to solve their problem long ago. And “good wishes” still reinforce this feeling, as if to say: “Yes, you are unsuccessful, you also prayed poorly and rarely went to church, and therefore the problem was not solved yet.”

In my opinion, here it is appropriate to recall the school rule – "do not hit the bedridden".

4) The council presents the problem of man as trivial, simple. He offers a simple – in form – solution: pray, go to the temple, and everything will pass. Thus, the problem that a person has unsuccessfully fought sometimes for many years is declared to be meaningless, ordinary, having a simple and quick solution. And then – see point 3: the person feels even more unsuccessful, that he could not solve such a simple problem.

You can summarize the words of the apostle Jacob: “if a brother or sister is naked and does not have daily food, and one of you will tell them:“ go in peace, warm up and eat, ”but will not give them what the body needs: what is the use?” ( James 2:16. I am afraid that such wishes are often perceived by people that way.

Five ways to support

How can you give a person support if your soul really responded to his suffering and you want to help?

1) Recognize the seriousness of the problem. To believe that on the other side of the screen is a man of flesh and blood, who with the same perseverance tries to solve his problems, like you are your own, and he is no less, and perhaps more difficult. To believe that a person is really looking for different solutions, and asks for money not because he is a fool or a slacker, but because it is really necessary.

2) Sympathize. Imagine the emotional state of a person in this situation and try to describe him, not forgetting the word “probably”: “as you must have, it is difficult and disturbing now, after a fire, not to have a roof over your head. Probably, you are worried about your future and the future of your children, and you do not know when you will be able to return to a normal quiet life. ” This form of utterance (sometimes referred to as “empathic response”) helps another person feel that we understand and hear.

3) Help with business. If you yourself cannot help in this situation, you might think which of your friends could help and send this story to him, explaining why, in your opinion, in this case you need to help.

4) Pray. I believe that this is really one of the most effective ways to help: more effective money and in any case more useful advice.

5) Share experiences, if there is one. Here is the form in which the advice can be heard. Do not “do this and that”, but “I had such and such a situation, I did this and got such and such results, overcoming such and such difficulties”. In this case, it is also useful to leave your contacts so that the person can ask you questions if he has a need. (Contacts can not be published in the public domain, and leave me that I gave them to the needy).

Study, study, study

The love of advice and the inability to support is a national disaster (I don’t know about other countries). And to support people in trouble is extremely difficult. We need not only experience and tact, but also considerable spiritual work. However, this is a chance to actually fulfill the commandment of love to Christ. Therefore, I think that, first of all, it is we, Christians, who need to learn to be attentive and careful in relation to other people, especially to those who are hard.

How do you usually give and receive support? What do you think when you get advice? Share your experiences in the comments!

My question was, as usual, practical: what to do with the “good wishes” when they are left on the site? And it is not good to leave – our ward may be so sick to read; and do not want to delete – commentator upset.

He asked his friends – they almost unanimously recommended deleting such comments. And for me, tough editing is somehow abhorrent. Now it will be possible in response to give a link to this article

Matvey Berhin
newsletter editor
[email protected]

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