From the NATIONAL CHAPLAIN.
Using your words to unify, not divide
Have you ever just stopped and thought about the words you say or the environment in which you say them? Sometimes we reflexively use words and phrases to offer advice or consolation, but they may not necessarily convey the message or sentiment we intend. Let's look at a few.
God is not giving you more than you can handle. I cringe when I hear this statement, as my faith teaches the opposite. Things can seem overwhelming in every bad situation, but it's in these times that we learn to lean on or trust in the Creator--and sometimes those around us. We shouldn't feel compelled to handle everything ourselves.
Everything happens for a reason. Even if this is theologically and technically true, it can be deeply offensive to people who are experiencing a tragic moment in their lives. Sometimes things are senseless, like the death of a child, the diagnosis of a terminal illness or the sudden loss of employment. Bad things happen, it's true, but the mark of a true friend can be to simply sit in the presence of a person who is hurting and listen, without offering any words of wisdom.
Jesus is my co-pilot. This is a great bumper sticker, but in reality you're not flying the plane and Jesus is not next to you handing you peanuts. My faith teaches me that Jesus is the pilot. He is in control. And without the pilot, we crash.
God helps those who help themselves. From my faith perspective, this is said in error. My Creator gives grace to the humble, the downtrodden and brokenhearted--those who have no ability to help themselves. To say that my Creator helps those who help themselves is putting a barrier between what my Creator says is true of who he helps and what we perceive. He is willing to help any and all who want and receive it.
DAV and the Auxiliary are nonsectarian organizations working toward a common goal: helping veterans and their families. There are good principles from our various faith perspectives that can help us be better people and better DAV members. Unfortunately, even in my own faith, we are divided, and this explains a lot about the current condition in America.
So be careful what you say next time. Pick and choose your words carefully so that we may unify, not divide. And remember, if you have nothing good to say, sometimes it's better to say nothing at all but rather to listen.
In His Service to You