What to Say to Those Suffering Crises

August 16, 2016

What do you say to a friend, family member, or even stranger who is suffering from a crisis? Many people don’t realize that it is just as important to know what not to say, because saying the wrong thing at the wrong time could sever the possibility for ministry and cause more pain.

Below are exact phrases for “what to say” and “what not to say” to those suffering crises. Visit our previous blog post to read “5 Ways to Help Those Suffering Crises.”

What Not to Say:

• I know how you feel.
• How are you doing? or Are you okay?
• You’ll feel better before you know it.
• You’ll get through it.
• I’m sure it would never happen again.
• Don’t cry. or Be strong for your family.
• You’d feel better if you would stop crying.
• Be happy for what you have left.
• God must have needed him/her in heaven.
• Thank God you have other children.
• The Lord gives and the Lord takes away.
• Don’t let it rob you of your joy.
• Anything that tells the person how to feel. Instead, respond to how he/she feels.
• Any personal stories that compare this grief or loss to some other grief or loss.

What to Say Instead:

• I cannot imagine how difficult this is for you.
• How are you holding up?
• Where were you when it happened?
• Use open questions. (What was it like?)
• May I take a moment to pray for you?
• If a family has lost a loved one, talk openly with them about him/her; share memories, especially about little things.
• Freely speak the name of the one who has died.
• Offer Bible verses about God’s presence and love.

This advice is an overview of the content from the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team’s Sharing Hope in Crisis Seminars that is held throughout the country and the training courses offered online. This August 20, The Park Church in Charlotte, N.C. will host a Sharing Hope in Crisis seminar. For more information, visit the Rapid Response Team website.

To read more about the history of Billy Graham sharing hope in times of crises and to see memorabilia from the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team, visit the Billy Graham Library from now through Oct. 31 to see their new “Compassion in Crisis” display. The display highlights how the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association has impacted those affected by some of the most significant crises throughout the last several decades.



Previous Post:
Next Post:

What Do You Think?