Wednesday, February 14, 2007
Stones And Bones
I must not have been more than five years old when I came to my mother for some help. Someone had hurt my feelings. They had called me names. That was the first time that my mother ever gave me bad advice.
Her remedy was for me to say to my tormentors, "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me." It sounds good, because it rhymes, but in practice it just doesn't provide the comfort that's intended.
The truth is that words do hurt. They hurt when you are five and they hurt when you are fifty-five. Words will probably hurt when you are ninety-five. That is, if you can still hear them. So why is it that mothers and others offer the empty wisdom of "Stones and Bones?" Why deny the reality of how injurious the things that we say can be?
This morning a woman told me she just didn't know what to say to someone who is depressed. I told her that there are things NOT to say, and there are encouraging words that will help.
What Not To Say To Someone Who Is Depressed
(a compilation of my ideas and those of others)
01-"Stormy, you don't look crazy." (my personal favorite)
02-"You have it so good, why aren't you happy?"
03-"Christians with strong faith just don't get depressed."
04-"Stop feeling sorry for yourself."
05-"I thought that you were stronger than that."
06-"You don't look depressed."
07-"I would never believe that could happen to you."
08-"You shouldn't spend all of your time in bed. Get out and do something!"
09-"You would never catch me seeing a shrink."
10-"I know how you feel. I was depressed once for several days."
11-"Just pull yourself up and get on with life."
12-"If you are depressed, you must be guilty of some sin."
13-"I would just keep quiet about it. Don't embarrass your family."
"Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing (Proverbs 12:18)."
["I'm so low I could do a ten minute free-fall off the edge of a dime."]