How is it that people don't know how to deal with conflict? Even when it's not even their own conflict!! LOL. Even when they are outside looking in on the conflict. They don't know how to act or what to do.
When I say that I've been completely overwhelmed by the lack of understanding surrounding this topic, that is a huge understatement. I've found, to my great surprise, that most people don't know how to healthily interact with people in general. At all. But especially people who are in need of something...anything. Even the people I thought would be really good at it and would come to my aid...nothing.
April was really bad, as you've read (link is Part 1 of 3). That month, when things were so bad, I sent an email to someone who has been a father figure to me...an email begging him to help me. I literally said, "I am begging you to help me." I had never done that before. With anyone. It has to be bad before I send you a form of personal communication begging for help. I don't beg.
I never heard back from him.
I never heard back from him. Let that sink in.
We had been in contact before that. Since I sent him that email, I haven't heard from him at all.
Something like that is just really, really soul-crushing. Devastating. How does this happen? How does it happen that everyone in your life who is supposed to be there to help you (physically, practically) chooses not to show up?
I learned as a child that the people closest to me were people who swept things under the rug. I never liked that practice, but I especially didn't like it when mistreatment started coming my way. And instead of the people who saw it speaking up for me, they just let it happen. Sometimes even laughing about it later, so they saw it...they just chose not to speak out.
That trend continues with that circle of people. And in July, what was supposed to be finally a really happy 2 weeks of my life...that behavior quickly turned those 2 weeks into the most horrible of my life. Rock. Freakin. Bottom...and not by my own doing. All at the hands of others who don't know how to be good people in hard situations. There was nothing I could do. (not a pity party...just telling what happened)
So...here's what I am going to do today. I am going to walk you through some examples of what good people, rare as they are, do in situations like this to help.
The people who are the closest to you...the people you call family and close friends...they should be the ones who step up to help you in need. But, oftentimes they are not. If you are considered family or a close friend, though...DO IT. Step up!! Do the right thing here.
If you are not considered family or a close friend, yet you see that those people in someone's life are not stepping up to help that person...you DO IT. Step up!! Do the right thing. They need someone.
Here are just five key things that should be done in situations where someone is in need of help. I'll also share what is so often done instead of the right thing. Please do the right thing in these situations. These are simple principles...yet so often the church/people who are supposed to care get it terribly wrong. Let's really think about these things and really be aware...and do the right things:
What you should do: Care. Just care. And when you truly care, you want to know about that person. You want to hear their story. You want to know them.
What is done instead: Because people don't want their perceptions of others to be swayed, they don't truly get to know people. I had one lady, a family member I have always been very close to, tell me that she just didn't want to know. She didn't want to know any bad stuff about us...she wanted to keep the 'good thoughts' about us that she had. She didn't want to know.
Don't be that person. Care enough to allow your perceptions of others to be shifted. (Besides, if you have someone on a pedestal, that is just wrong anyway. Seek honesty and authenticity...in yourself and others...otherwise you're just living in a made-up dream world.) Care enough about someone else that you will allow yourself to give up your own desires to meet their needs. That you will allow yourself to be 'uncomfortable' even, if that is what you feel when hearing their story, in order to meet someone's very real need. Care!!
Also, just a little addendum here - If you are not going to care enough to go to that person and ask questions and know their story, then KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT. Because if you don't care enough to know, guess what? You don't even know what you are talking about. It's crazy, and completely egotistical, to think that you do. I recently got lambasted on Facebook, by a family member whose been in my life since birth actually. At the end he said this, "Don't come to me saying I don't know the whole story. I don't want to know the whole story." LOL. Um, hello...if you don't know the whole story, there is no way for you to speak into it. Again, complete hubris for anyone to think differently. What happens when you don't know the story, or don't believe the people who are living the story, is just a bunch of hugely distorted truth, complete UNtruths, and slander. At least care enough to not distort truth, outright lie, and slander someone by opening your mouth in ignorance! Keep your wrong and ignorant thoughts, since you don't want to know the story (the truth), to yourself.
What you should do: Believe them. It's their life you are talking about. Believe them until it is proven that they are not telling the truth (which likely will not happen, as is the case with me). At the very least, acknowledge that what they are saying *could* very well be the truth! Follow through on what they are telling you.
What is done instead: People don't believe. Sadly, I'd say (and statistics show) that this most often happens with women. That was definitely how it happened in my case. Absolutely no reason not to believe me...but, when given the choice to believe the man (my husband) over the woman (me, his wife)...the man was chosen every time.
What you should do: Don't downplay. Don't minimize the person's experience. Don't go on with life and pretend like it's not even happening (you people who sweep things under the rug, I'm talking to you!!)!! Believe the person in everything...including what is said to have happened as a result of the experience...the repercussions, the damage. Are there people who exaggerate? Yes. But, most people who have been the victims of something are just telling the truth. Yet their experience is constantly trivialized. And that just makes things worse.
What is done instead: People don't think that it could be that bad. Or they think that you should just 'move on' or 'get over it' or 'not make such a big deal out of it.' Believe me, almost nobody chooses to stay in hard spots. Almost nobody chooses to not move on. If someone is not moving on, it is most likely because they have not been helped. They are all alone...and don't have any support...and are still being victimized. Don't tell them to 'get over it.' Don't tell them to 'stop making such a big deal out of it.' Listen to them. Put yourself in their shoes. And never trivialize their pain.
What you should do: Don't think that you have to agree with them about everything in order to support them. Recently someone did something specific to hurt me. Nobody came. The people closest to me...nobody came. When I asked one of them later "why?" they said, "Well, I didn't agree with what you did in response and how you were handling it."
Let me just tell you all...that has nothing to do with it!! This person knew that I had been hurt...very badly. Just FYI, this person didn't agree with what the person who hurt me did either. But, he was conflicted because he knew that I had been hurt, yet he didn't fully agree with my response. He in some way felt that coming to me to support me in any way would be supporting my actions that he didn't agree with.
When you see someone who is hurting, you go to them. Especially if it is someone you supposedly care about. I don't agree with the things a prostitute does, but if I'm around one in need or one who has been hurt, I don't ignore them in fear of 'supporting their behavior.' Even if their wrong choices are what caused them to be put in a situation to be hurt in the first place (and that wasn't even the case with my situation).
You help. You help the people you love that are in need. When something traumatic happens, you run to their side to hold them up. When they hurt, you are there to ease their pain and help to bear their burdens. Doesn't matter if you agree with every single thing they do or not.
What is done instead: People are ignored. People are left to fight their battles and try to stop the bleeding all alone.
What you should do: Put yourself out there. This is related to caring, but so often people don't go after helping someone and being a caring person because they don't want to 'interfere.' Let me tell you something...if someone is asking for help, that means that they are wanting someone who can help to 'interfere.' If you don't think you are someone who can help, you can...because you can at least be with that person and support them and provide empathy for them...sit with them and acknowledge that they are not alone. *Everyone* can help.
What is done instead: People don't want to get involved. They feel like they would be interfering or getting in people's business (although they usually aren't bothered by talking about people's business to others...they just usually don't want to be a part of the solution or help). They don't want to be bothered.
Or...sometimes they truly do wish they could help, but they don't think they are capable. This is rare, sadly...I think it is mostly that people don't want to help and don't want to be bothered with others' problems. But, sometimes it does happen that people want to help but don't feel equipped.
Honestly, one way of looking at that is...that can be summed up as just more selfishness. That is just more self-absorption. Oh, I I I. I don't know how to help. I don't know what to do. I don't want to be a bother. I have so many problems of my own, I can't possibly invest in someone else right now. If you see someone in need, esp. if someone is asking for your help, if you are still thinking about and considering yourself after seeing and hearing that need, then you are being selfish. Straight up.
Can I tell you that during the past 3 ½ years, I never didn't help someone else just because I was going through my own personal hell. Was it hard sometimes? Yes. And sometimes I didn't help them much. Sometimes all I could offer them was "Oh my gosh...I am so sorry you are going through this. I can't offer you much right now, but I am here. I see you. I see what you are going through. I am so so sorry. And if you need me at all, please let me know. If there is anything that I can do...bring you a meal, just come over and visit, be a sounding board, pray with you...whatever you need, please let me know." And usually if I can't personally help them practically to get them out of their situation, I know someone who can and will network. I say all of that not to toot a horn or anything, but to tell you that I get it. When you're going through your own crap and aren't being helped, the last thing you want to do sometimes is put yourself out there. But, you who are going through your own crap are the ones who should know best...we need each other! So, the bottom line is that that is no excuse either.
Sorry...you are without excuse!! Across the board. Especially you who call yourselves 'little Christs'...you are without excuse! Be aware of people around you, look and listen for their needs, and do all you can to meet them. It might not be your own personal conflict or problem...but it becomes yours when it belongs to someone around you.
It all just kind of reminds me of a story. You may have heard it. A little something called "The Good Samaritan." Familiar? :)
I love this commentary that I read:
Ha. Tryna get one over on Jesus. Ain't ever gonna happen. Lol.The parable of The Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37) is well-known. Jesus told the story to show up the stupidity and hypocrisy of the religious leaders in Jerusalem.The parable illustrates how gaunt was compassion in the religious system of the time. The Bible said plainly, "Love thy neighbor." The hypocrites curled the lip at that, and sought to muddy the matter with a clever question, "And who is my neighbor?" Jesus answers with a simple story that makes the clever question look dumb indeed.
Just the text there doesn't give any real indication of the culture. But, the lawyer (expert in religious law) asking the questions would have known off the bat the contextual significance of the specific story Jesus tells and the characters He uses.
I love this commentary:
Hahaha. I love Jesus!A good Samaritan, in the mind of the Jews, was a contradiction in terms. "The Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans" (John 4:9). Samaritans are scum. There's no such thing as a good Samaritan.This was a centuries-old prejudice. Its roots went as far back as the split of the nation of Israel into two kingdoms, whose capitals and religious centers were Jerusalem versus Samaria. Yet of the three who could have shown mercy, two Jews and one Samaritan, it was the latter who did so. That was pretty pointed.It is almost as though Jesus were saying, "Put that in your phylacteries you hypocrites!"
To sum it up:
Blessed are the merciful for they shall obtain mercy. Damned are the unmerciful no matter how religious they may be. God looks on the heart, and he does not much care whether the exterior is Samaritan or Levite or any other outward distinction. God discriminates only on the basis of whether the inner person is humble and just, merciful and kind.Let's be like the Good Samaritan. OK?
And now my favorite rendition of the Good Samaritan (starts at 2:15)...
~Love your neighbor. Loving means lending a hand.~
VeggieTales - Are you my Neighbor by papagiannakis_iosif