What Not To Say When…

What Not To Say When…

Life is full of difficult situations where our  words just fail us and our effort to say something, say anything falls way short of our intention.  Here are some suggestions from a variety of writers in sensitively handling difficult situations.



According to this article” 7 Things Not To Say To Someone With Anxiety” 40 million Americans suffer from this debilitating issue and things like, “Don’t sweat the small stuff.” will not help the situation.


It affects us all and it will be the fight of our generation and generations to come.  CANCER!!

I was 22 years old when my mom died of cancer she was only 54.   My dad died of a brain tumor a couple of years ago at age 69.  They both died too early and I miss them greatly.

What do you say to someone who has cancer?  Even as a minister the words do not come easy.  We all want to say something comforting and encouraging but often we struggle to find the right words.

Tracey Solomon  is a blogger who says phrases like “You’ve got to stay positive.” won’t cut it.  What Not To Say When Someone Has Cancer


Do you know a couple who are trying to have children but are having trouble?  Have you ever said, “Just adopt and you’ll get pregnant”?   While I have seen that happen many times this is one of 5 statements Matt Appling  says never to say to a childless couple.  Are you guilty of any of the other 4?

5 Things Not To Say To Your Childless Friends


If you have stocks in anti-depression drugs then you are laughing all the way to the bank.  Like anxiety and cancer it either affects us or someone we know.   The response of Christians to depression ranges from great care to “Where’s the joy of the Lord in your life?”  Want to help and not hinder someone suffering from depression?  C. S. Heinz has some great suggestions from personal experience.

How To Show Love To Someone With Depression


One of the toughest situations you can face is a stillbirth.  Questions like “Why would God let us come this far and then not allow our baby to live?”  When parents are looking for words of comfort how do you respond?  Mark Chanski has advice on what to say and what not to say How To Comfort Parents After A Stillbirth

As ministers, family or friends trying to minister and help in any of these situations is never easy.  The situations are so varied and the personalities so different that there will never be just one approach.   In times when you walk away feeling less an adequate in your desire to help remember that sometimes showing up is half the battle as Michael Kelly says.

Photo credit: dhammza / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND





Comments (1)
  • Peter Walters says:


    Thank you for your kind words. I think you are right, in our rush to want to help we don’t take the time to consider what would actually be helpful and sometimes we do more harm than good.

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