“The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.” Proverbs: 12:18
We all know from first-hand experience how powerful words can be. It’s very likely each of us has been on the receiving end of someone who spoke rashly or harshly, whose words hurt like a “piercing sword.”
Or we may have been encouraged by the kind and helpful words of friends or family during trying times. In the midst of difficult moments, it helps to remember to slow down, take a breath, consider how to respond, and then choose our words wisely. When assisting someone else who is in the midst of a crisis, the more thoughtful, non-judgmental words are those that can bring help and healing to others.
Caring Network greets women facing the difficult circumstances of unexpected pregnancy with kind and compassionate words to ease their fear and uncertainty. We meet women where they are, listen to their concerns, and offer helpful solutions. Our services include free consultations, medical-grade pregnancy tests, ultrasound exams, and connecting them with community resources to lighten their load. For almost 40 years, our mission is to save lives by listening and serving women throughout and beyond their pregnancy, pointing to the guiding light of Christ’s love. Learn more about Caring Network’s efforts and ministry today.
Choosing Words Wisely
We live in a judgmental world, especially these days. It seems everywhere we look “society” encourages us to “pick sides” and argue our beliefs, isolating others’ opinions and making them feel “wrong.” But Jesus preached the opposite: love, peace, and compassion, instructing us not to judge others. Where has listening and compassion gone? Where are the “peacemakers?”
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God” Matthew 5:9
For those of us who are talking to friends or relatives or working with people in crisis, no matter what the issue involves–whether it be personal, political, or even work-related–the way to help someone looks the same. What are some of the things we can do, the tools we can use to help instead of hurt? To bring healing instead of harm?
Use Patience – Be Still & Listen
Many people hesitate to speak up or seek help when facing difficult circumstances for fear of being judged or criticized. Fear can drive silence. By offering a compassionate ear and truly listening to others’ concerns, we begin to understand their perspective. This provides insight on how their views are formed and decisions are influenced. Patient listening begets compassion and helps us walk in their shoes. Most people in crisis or under duress just want to be heard, to vent, to be understood. Listening and letting them process a situation helps gives them a voice and can help diffuse any conflict.
“Whoever is patient has great understanding, but one who is quick-tempered displays folly.” Proverbs 14:29
Ask Questions to Identify the Problem & Determine the Need
By listening to someone and asking questions, it helps to isolate the true concerns. This enables you to learn more about the causes of distress, clarifying what they need along with how you can help. When under duress, panic often interferes with processing information and can get in the way of making clear decisions. By asking questions and looking for the real issue behind the fear and worry, you can discern how best to provide the right kind of care. What initially appears to be the main concern, may not end up being the biggest issue. Once we get to the root of the problem, what most people need in times of trial is support.
“If one gives an answer before he hears, it is his folly and shame.” Proverbs 18:13
Respond Kindly – Have a Heart
Once the real problem has been identified, use kind and respectful words to sympathize. If appropriate, you may offer suggestions or possible solutions to support them and help minimize their crisis feelings. There are many options for problem-solving and by walking with someone, we can isolate the best way to help. For some women facing an unexpected pregnancy, it may be connecting them with a medical professional. Or, perhaps you can help them sign up for insurance, or connect them to community resources that provide diapers, wipes, baby clothes or baby furniture for their baby, or reach out to a church or support group who can provide moral support throughout their pregnancy.
“Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.” Thessalonians 5:11
No matter the solutions or options we offer, the words we use, and the way we deliver these messages can be powerful and impactful. They can be a tool to help instead of hurt. By choosing to be patient and listen, to allow someone time to talk, to ask questions and learn, to be interested, and help isolate the real concerns, all of these wise ways enable us to be a source for good. Through prayer and using Christ as our guide, the difference could mean saving a life.
“Let the wise hear and increase in learning, and the one who understands obtain guidance.” Proverbs 1:5
Caring Network has been offering words of hope for women facing unplanned pregnancies since 1981. We fulfill our mission by providing free services and compassionate support at six pregnancy centers throughout Chicagoland. To learn more about partnering with us to help fulfill our mission of saving lives, reach out today!