I recently bore witness to a guy talking about his daughter’s son recently passed away from Sudden Unexplained Death In Childhood (SUDC). He talked about how devastated his daughter was, but he also stated how his church addressed the issue by stating that “everything happens for a reason” and he took that answer in stride…I, despite not involved in anyway, was devastated- for the woman who lost her son unexpectedly, but also this pronouncement the church fed him.
It works me up, it pisses me off when I get a whiff of bad theology. Whether Christianese cliche phrases to explain away pain, hurt, suffering, et al. and while sometimes the reason is no reason, that leaves me wondering; do you honesty hear what you’re saying? Would you like to be on the receiving end of that?
A while ago I found a list of the 10 cliches Christians shouldn’t never use, and the one I heard this guy say tops the list. I think it tops the list because of the common denominator that all humans can relate to is pain; not all pain looks the same, but it certainly ties us together. So when pain get paired with bad theology I wonder where is God in all of it. God’s there in the pain and the suffering, but I am certain to the core of me that God is not present in the bad theology, and perhaps the head of God shakes in dismay for such pithy remarks.
I know that if I lost a child, I would want people to be present, and preferably people present in silence. Yes silence can be awkward, silence can be troubling to some, but silence paired with presence can be healing. I don’t need theology in doing, but rather being, and if I knew the woman who lost her son I would be with her because I believe that is what Jesus would do/be as well.
So please, stop bad theology where you can, stop hurting with words and be with those who suffer because wouldn’t you want someone to be there with you when you suffer?