You know the tweets (or facebook status updates).
“If you’re going through hell, keep going!”
“You can’t enjoy the victory in spiritual warfare without fighting a war!”
“Look at what Job received at the end of his trials!”
“It takes pressure to make a diamond!”
I’m all for encouraging someone when they’re struggling or going through some hard time. But I can also say that I know first hand how discouraging it can be to have someone who’s doing very well in terms of worldly status, power or money sending out the platitudes en masse via social media encouraging those struggling to “hold on for one more day”. (Yes, I just quoted Wilson Phillips. Those girls could sing.)
I can think of the times I saw one of those tweets and thought to myself, “Hey, did you send that from the book lined den of your half million dollar home while your beautiful, Godly wife and 2.5 kids were running around you as you ate a delicious piece of made from scratch homemade pizza in a picture of pure domestic bliss?” The words ended up being seriously discouraging because it looked this person really had no idea what it was like to go through seriously tough situations.
Now, if you’re in a struggling place, let me agree with you on some things you’re probably thinking. Yes, it’s possible they really don’t know what it’s like to go through what you’re facing. Yes, it’s easy to spew the Christian platitudes when everything is “going well.” Yes, it’s possible haven’t done anything practical to help someone in serious need beyond giving their tithe to their own church.
Here’s the kicker: in the end, none of that really matters. If you’re in a mindset where you see the “million dollar preachers” giving out words of encouragement and it immediately takes you to a place of anger, discomfort or frustration then you need to change your outlook.
It won’t be easy to do at first because you’ve trained yourself for many years to dismiss them. It also won’t be easy because you have to wrestle down another part of your pride.
A few things to ponder:
1. All of us have a different walk with God. Some of us will face more difficult trials than others. Not all of us will be able to live in a nice house or have a nice car or a steady job. We have to accept that fact and realize that our place is to seek God and what He places in our lives. Just because someone’s road may not have been as rocky as yours it doesn’t mean they don’t mean well and their words aren’t legitimate.
2. God places people in leadership. It’s easy to look at some pastor who’s been blessed with financial blessing or a nice house and discount something they might say because of their situation. However, God places these leaders in their position. If we discount someone because their status might appear to be “easier” than others, we’re in effect thumbing our nose at God. I’m not saying not to compare their message to the Scriptures; I’m saying that if you write them off because of their blessings only then you could be dismissing something from God.
3. You don’t know all of their life’s story. You don’t know what they may or may not have faced in their life. They may have chosen not to reveal something they’ve faced that you’re walking through right now. They may know your road a lot better than you know that they do. When you make the assumption they’ve never walked the road you’re on it places you in a dangerous place. Don’t allow God’s message to fall on self-deafened ears because you think they don’t know your pain.
These are not the only reasons to realign your thinking but they’re a good start. Ultimately, it comes back to the acceptance that God is in control of all things including our lives; that He knew of every day in our lives before we were even born and that nothing is beyond His control.
We just need to trust God and His plan for our lives. When that platitude comes across the screen offering encouragement, take the word for what they are and don’t worry about whether the messenger carries the same amount of scars as you.
Have you ever written someone off because their walk seemed easier than yours?