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Sending Christian support to non-Christians?


swimmermom3
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I'm a Christian and I still don't say that. I believe it, but only an ass says that to someone who is grieving. It is not situationally appropriate comfort for almost every person. Unless you're inside that circle of grief, don't do it. If you're in a broader, farther ring of that circle, your job is to not burden those deeper toward the epicenter of grief.

 

Something along the lines of "I'm so sorry for your struggles, I'm praying for your comfort. How can I help you?" works for almost everyone.

 

As usual, Arctic Mama summed it up.

I am a Christian but would probably not even include "praying for you," especially if I know that the recipient could not care less - I would still pray without saying so.  :)

I would offer whatever help I can, and be empathetic. Even if you hope and wish someone would become a Christian, IMHO a helpful, gracious and empathetic attitude is modeling Christ more than hitting someone over the head with scripture they don't want to hear / read.

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I think it's super obnoxious. If it were from someone who didn't KNOW you weren't "a believer", then I'd just chalk it up to insensitivity and that weird assumption that the entire world thinks like they do (probably didn't get out of their bubble much). 

 

Since it was from someone who knows you, then I'd either choose to believe they are doing what they think is in your best interest, because they are so crazy evangelical that they think it is their DUTY to make every effort, no matter how low, to convert you. Because, they're trying to save you from hell fire, etc. That's what I'd choose to believe if I loved that person and wanted to continue a relationship. I'd remind myself that it's all about THEM, not me. 

 

Alternately, if I don't need/want a relationship with that person, I might think they are just an asshat, super self-centered, and apparently can't even look up from their own needs for enough time to appropriately inscribe a card of support. In that case, I think my relationship with that person would be about done. 

 

I feel for you. My mom just died. I am dreading, absolutely dreading, the flood of cards with that sort of crap in them. For "propriety", I think I will pay my housekeeper/Mom's former aide to write the thank you notes for all of those ones . . . and I'll just sign my name without looking. I'll have her make a list of names for me to keep, so I know who sent cards, but I won't read the ones that will piss me off. I was actually a comfortable maybe/maybe not Episcopal until Mom got sick a few years ago . . . Seeing the "true colors" of her crappy-shitty-not-real-friends at church all abandon her (while still happily taking her checks, no matter how garbled they were by her dementia) . . . anyway, I hate them all now. Hate them. (I admit there are a very few that were kind and loyal. VERY FEW.) I fear that they'll all show up at her memorial service (which we are pointedly NOT holding in a church). And, it'll be all I can do not to slap each one as they come through the receiving line. If they throw their God crap at me at my own mother's service, I WILL say something unsavory. I need to come up with a pointed but not vulgar response. I'm adding that to my To Do list. 

 

((((hugs)))) to you and your family while you are going through a difficult time. 

 

 

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I think it's super obnoxious. If it were from someone who didn't KNOW you weren't "a believer", then I'd just chalk it up to insensitivity and that weird assumption that the entire world thinks like they do (probably didn't get out of their bubble much).

 

Since it was from someone who knows you, then I'd either choose to believe they are doing what they think is in your best interest, because they are so crazy evangelical that they think it is their DUTY to make every effort, no matter how low, to convert you. Because, they're trying to save you from hell fire, etc. That's what I'd choose to believe if I loved that person and wanted to continue a relationship. I'd remind myself that it's all about THEM, not me.

 

Alternately, if I don't need/want a relationship with that person, I might think they are just an asshat, super self-centered, and apparently can't even look up from their own needs for enough time to appropriately inscribe a card of support. In that case, I think my relationship with that person would be about done.

 

I feel for you. My mom just died. I am dreading, absolutely dreading, the flood of cards with that sort of crap in them. For "propriety", I think I will pay my housekeeper/Mom's former aide to write the thank you notes for all of those ones . . . and I'll just sign my name without looking. I'll have her make a list of names for me to keep, so I know who sent cards, but I won't read the ones that will piss me off. I was actually a comfortable maybe/maybe not Episcopal until Mom got sick a few years ago . . . Seeing the "true colors" of her crappy-shitty-not-real-friends at church all abandon her (while still happily taking her checks, no matter how garbled they were by her dementia) . . . anyway, I hate them all now. Hate them. (I admit there are a very few that were kind and loyal. VERY FEW.) I fear that they'll all show up at her memorial service (which we are pointedly NOT holding in a church). And, it'll be all I can do not to slap each one as they come through the receiving line. If they throw their God crap at me at my own mother's service, I WILL say something unsavory. I need to come up with a pointed but not vulgar response. I'm adding that to my To Do list.

 

((((hugs)))) to you and your family while you are going through a difficult time.

At risk of putting Bible references in inappropriate places, in an effort to give you fodder to poke those people where it hurts... Here's some Biblical ideas of what you can say to people like that.

 

Somewhere just past the halfway point of Matthew, before the crucifixion narrative starts, there is a phenomenal long passage where Jesus curses the **** out of hypocrites and selfishly holy churchy folks. He more-or-less calls them unclean corpse rot, and threatens them with all the metaphors of hell... for neglecting the sick (among other things) while they throw around 'God crap'. It goes on and on for chapters: a brimstone judgement against the religiosity of Jerusalem (where he was) that lacked both honesty and any kind of compassion.

 

People tend to read it in small snippets, but Jesus is on a roll, and he makes his point with almost volcanic rage. Your rage makes good sense. The Jesus who is in the Bible, whom these people claim, and you don't -- even if he's nothing but a character in a drama -- "he's" still the one that's got that rage where it belongs. You are more like "him" in this moment than they have been during these events as you discribe them.

 

I don't know what that's supposed to do for you. Mostly, I hope it helps you find a way to use their own Bible to shove their 'God crap' in their faces (and set them weeping in repentance -- it will be good for them). Plus, I hope it makes you feel awesome.

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I tend to be overly cautious, so if I had a friend who wasn't a Christian but I wanted to let them know I was thinking about them, I would never mention anything religious-sounding at all.  I wouldn't mention that I was praying for them, even if I was. 

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What is so difficult with just saying "Thinking of you in this difficult time" and signing your name.  I find it hard to believe that even the most Christian of Christians can't do that.  I was always very careful not to inject my personal beliefs when replying to someone who didn't share them.  It's pretty simple.

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I feel for you. My mom just died. I am dreading, absolutely dreading, the flood of cards with that sort of crap in them. For "propriety", I think I will pay my housekeeper/Mom's former aide to write the thank you notes for all of those ones . . . and I'll just sign my name without looking. 

 

:grouphug: 's to you.

 

I didn't. I ignored almost everyone who said anything stupid to me. Silence was more polite than "Bugger off. I know you gossip about me behind my back," and "You are the last person I'd call if I needed anything. You are the type to show up and eat my food."

 

I dare you not to sign the cards. Let your Mum's former aide reply on your behalf. Then they can't fault your manners, but will know they've been snubbed when they compare with other people who haven't annoyed you and who've received cards you have signed.  :angry:  Oh look at that. I've just found that passive aggressive streak I thought I must have somewhere. :angelsad2:  :biggrinjester:

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What I meant was that I'm Christian and it colors my worldview to the point I might not realize there was something 'religious' in my attempt to offer condolences, even if I was trying to self edit. In being sincere in trying to help, I'd probably still make some oblique reference to a higher power or divine comfort in strife because I wouldn't realize it. It wouldn't be intentional though! Certainly not what that person said. If I'm trying super hard to be tactful I tend to just say "I'm so sorry. Hugs to your family!". That feels impersonal to me, but if it was a very anti-God friend who I wanted to show my love and concern, I'd rather risk being terse and saying something that being absent when they need comfort, or accidentally offending them by giving a more detailed and personal note. It really depends on the person, but because the goal is showing them love in a way that they'd feel it, I'd be working very hard to catch any subconscious worldview interjection. However since everyone knows I'm a Christian I assume they'd assume it slipped by on accident, which would be the truth :)

 

Make more sense?

 

Absolutely! Thank you.

 

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So sorry for your loss  :grouphug: 

And no it isn't OK to send scriptures and other overtly godbothering stuff to grieving people when they know the recipient doesn't identify with that religion. It's insensitive at best and manipulative at worst. If somebody says something like "I'm praying for you" I would just mentally translate it to "I'm thinking of you" or "I care about you" and feel grateful that somebody does care, because it's easy for the words that person is used to using to just slip out. But if somebody sends a card, they had to choose the card, think what to write, write it and look over it before sending it, so words don't just slip out in written correspondence.

 

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I am so sorry for your loss.

 

I think when someone chooses to share their deepest selves, which for many is an identity in Christ, with you in an effort to support and encourage you that it's never "wrong". It may not be your way, but it's them at their deepest trying to connect and help in a way that is most important to them. I think it would be inauthentic for people of faith to react any other way. I don't think anyone is trying to manipulate or preach, but are sharing the most sacred part of who they are and where they have found / find comfort.

 

In my life, when I know people have good intentions and destroy the delivery, I try to step back, kind of sigh, and give "an A for effort". Again, I'm so sorry for you having to go through this.

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Someone in trauma shouldn't have to carry the burden of anyone else's deepest, authentic selves.  That is incredibly selfish and it is wrong. The further the Identity-in-Christ-er is from the epicentre, the more unhelpful and more wrong it is. The suggestion that people in trauma should value another person's selfishness above their own trauma is sickening.

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I'm sorry to hear about everyone's losses.

 

I don't even care for those kind of cards, and I'm a Christian. It's like when someone dies, and all anyone can say is Romans 8:28! And he's in a better place. I just want to say - thanks, I've read the Bible and I know you have too. Now be quiet! :)

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It only makes sense that people keep their expressions neutral when seeking to console or help someone with different spiritual/religious views.   Why burden people with something they don't want or that doesn't make sense to them? 

 

When my mother died, a friend who described herself as a spiritual atheist told me she was "sending positive energy" to me.  I have no idea what that means or how one sends energy.   I assume it's a variation on "I'm thinking of you" which would have been a better thing to say.  I wasn't exactly offended by her comment, but I admit I thought it was odd and it did bother me a little, perhaps mostly as a distraction.

 

I've found the best thing to do is say "I'm sorry" and offer tangible help.  Not just "let me know if there's something I can do" but "can I bring you a meal tomorrow?" "Can I watch your kids for you?"    Sitting quietly, ready to listen without offering advice or platitudes of any kind, is good too.

 

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m so sorry for your loss".

Someone in trauma shouldn't have to carry the burden of anyone else's deepest, authentic selves.  That is incredibly selfish and it is wrong. The further the Identity-in-Christ-er is from the epicentre, the more unhelpful and more wrong it is. The suggestion that people in trauma should value another person's selfishness above their own trauma is sickening.

 

 

This.

 

which is why social convention came up with the proper response at these times.  e.g. "I'm so sorry for your loss".  and to *leave it there*.  but some people want to show how caring and authentic they are by being "original', when in reality they just show how out-of-touch and idiotic they are.

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I am so sorry for your loss.

 

I think when someone chooses to share their deepest selves, which for many is an identity in Christ, with you in an effort to support and encourage you that it's never "wrong". It may not be your way, but it's them at their deepest trying to connect and help in a way that is most important to them. I think it would be inauthentic for people of faith to react any other way. I don't think anyone is trying to manipulate or preach, but are sharing the most sacred part of who they are and where they have found / find comfort.

 

In my life, when I know people have good intentions and destroy the delivery, I try to step back, kind of sigh, and give "an A for effort". Again, I'm so sorry for you having to go through this.

And yet, we hear every year how offensive and "war on Christmas" the "happy holidays" wish is when authentically offered in a very casual atmosphere when, really, the cashier at the grocery store might mean to include Christmas and New Year, since they're a week apart. Or that there are many Christian observances that fall on either side of Christmas...

 

My point being that it is not about the wisher, but about the recipient of the wish in that instance, so maybe we could respect the recipient of wishes when it is much more personal.

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I'm very sorry for things people are or have gone through here.  :grouphug:

 

Though I've already said that I make a point of not sending anything religious to people who are not religious, I do find it surprising how many people experience such bitterness toward people who do send them heart-felt notes that mention religion. 

 

When my husband was in a coma and his life was on the line for a couple weeks, I received cards from people saying all sorts of random things.  One of them said she lit a candle surrounded by ice on her shrine to the gods.  Now I'm a Christian and I don't have shrines or worship multiple gods and she knows this, but I also know that she was doing the most important thing that she could think of to help me.  I didn't think of it as selfish at all -- it was just her deepest, most personal way of trying to show her support from across the miles during a really terrible time.   It meant a lot to me.

 

I would much rather have people send me cards that state their true expressions of how they --  from the very depths of their hearts --are trying to support me, whether I agree with their expressions or not, rather than just empty words. 

 

I guess I don't understand where all this bitterness comes from, and why people assume such selfish, ill-intent.

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I think the part in bold would be the person's intent even though they know we are not practicing.

 

..."sincere prayer that you will know that:

 

'God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.' Ps. 46"

 

"May you know this truth as your firm foundation in these days ahead."

 

Ugh. That would upset me too.

 

I haven't read all of this thread, but I did a quick search for "comforting bible verses", and the only one that would be more or less okay imo was:

 

Romans 15:4 “For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.â€

 

Reading can be quite comforting and can give hope. Of course, not including a bible verse would be even better.

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I guess I don't understand where all this bitterness comes from, and why people assume such selfish, ill-intent.

 

As many people have already stated, there's a heck of a difference between "I'll pray for you/ I'll light a candle for you" and a demand that you be the recipient of their emotional dumping. Emotional dumping isn't necessarily motivated by ill intent. I doubt anyone thinks "Hey, how can I make the worst day of someone's life even worse!" But a person in trauma doesn't deserve to be put in a position where they have to absorb and process *more* emotion. Especially from someone big and silly enough to deal with their own. Whatever the intent is, the *action* is selfish.

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I think it's super obnoxious. If it were from someone who didn't KNOW you weren't "a believer", then I'd just chalk it up to insensitivity and that weird assumption that the entire world thinks like they do (probably didn't get out of their bubble much). 

 

Since it was from someone who knows you, then I'd either choose to believe they are doing what they think is in your best interest, because they are so crazy evangelical that they think it is their DUTY to make every effort, no matter how low, to convert you. Because, they're trying to save you from hell fire, etc. That's what I'd choose to believe if I loved that person and wanted to continue a relationship. I'd remind myself that it's all about THEM, not me. 

 

Alternately, if I don't need/want a relationship with that person, I might think they are just an asshat, super self-centered, and apparently can't even look up from their own needs for enough time to appropriately inscribe a card of support. In that case, I think my relationship with that person would be about done. 

 

I feel for you. My mom just died. I am dreading, absolutely dreading, the flood of cards with that sort of crap in them. For "propriety", I think I will pay my housekeeper/Mom's former aide to write the thank you notes for all of those ones . . . and I'll just sign my name without looking. I'll have her make a list of names for me to keep, so I know who sent cards, but I won't read the ones that will piss me off. I was actually a comfortable maybe/maybe not Episcopal until Mom got sick a few years ago . . . Seeing the "true colors" of her crappy-shitty-not-real-friends at church all abandon her (while still happily taking her checks, no matter how garbled they were by her dementia) . . . anyway, I hate them all now. Hate them. (I admit there are a very few that were kind and loyal. VERY FEW.) I fear that they'll all show up at her memorial service (which we are pointedly NOT holding in a church). And, it'll be all I can do not to slap each one as they come through the receiving line. If they throw their God crap at me at my own mother's service, I WILL say something unsavory. I need to come up with a pointed but not vulgar response. I'm adding that to my To Do list. 

 

((((hugs)))) to you and your family while you are going through a difficult time. 

 

I'm sorry about your mom.  I wouldn't even bother with thank you cards.  Do people really expect thank you cards for that?  Guess I'm rude then because I didn't send any. 

 

 

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I'm very sorry for things people are or have gone through here.  :grouphug:

 

Though I've already said that I make a point of not sending anything religious to people who are not religious, I do find it surprising how many people experience such bitterness toward people who do send them heart-felt notes that mention religion. 

 

When my husband was in a coma and his life was on the line for a couple weeks, I received cards from people saying all sorts of random things.  One of them said she lit a candle surrounded by ice on her shrine to the gods.  Now I'm a Christian and I don't have shrines or worship multiple gods and she knows this, but I also know that she was doing the most important thing that she could think of to help me.  I didn't think of it as selfish at all -- it was just her deepest, most personal way of trying to show her support from across the miles during a really terrible time.   It meant a lot to me.

 

I would much rather have people send me cards that state their true expressions of how they --  from the very depths of their hearts --are trying to support me, whether I agree with their expressions or not, rather than just empty words. 

 

I guess I don't understand where all this bitterness comes from, and why people assume such selfish, ill-intent.

 

saying "I'll light a candle to __" is akin to saying "I'm thinking of you".  - that's welcoming..

giving someone a religious verse telling them to think about it, and accept what it says, in order to be comforted is not comforting.   I'm religious - and would not find that comforting.

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I'm sorry about your mom.  I wouldn't even bother with thank you cards.  Do people really expect thank you cards for that?  Guess I'm rude then because I didn't send any. 

 

 

 

I do not believe thank you cards are required or generally expected for condolence cards.  

 

I didn't send thank you cards to probably 90% of the people I received cards from when my mom died.  There were a few people I wanted to respond to - special friends of my mother who meant a lot to her.   There were some cards I didn't even read, from people I didn't care to hear from.

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Agreeing with the others, Stephanie, thank you notes are not at ALL required for cards. Miss Manners says to return thanks for handwritten letters but Hallmark-style greeting cards of any kind do not belong in that category.

 

Thank you notes for handwritten letters (there won't be many; people just don't anymore), flowers, and food are appreciated and expected but that's all.

 

As far the service, you are entirely within the bounds of propriety if you look them straight in the eye and merely say, "Thank you so much for coming," (in response to anything they say) then break eye contact and move on to the next person. That's 100% fine, I promise. You may use that little speech for those you love and for those you hate.

 

I am very, very sorry for your loss.

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I wouldn't send that to a nonbeliever.  I don't even typically tell nonbelievers I am praying for them, ever since a friend who is an atheist told me in no uncertain terms where I could put my prayers when I said that to her when she was going through a difficult divorce.  I stick with "I'm sorry."  "I'm thinking of you."  "I hope things are better soon."

 

As a different agnostic/atheist, I might feel kind of odd if someone who *constantly* says "I'm praying for you" to other people would just say "I'm sorry" to me. Like, wait... I'm such a lost cause I'm not worth praying for? Not sure. Can't think of a situation like that having happened to me, and I might not notice if it did.

 

"I'm praying for you" is different from "God is my refuge and he should be your refuge too". I assume most Christians pray for people going through rough times. Saying "I'm praying for you" is kind of like "I'm doing my best to help you in the ways I can". I don't think it has any use, but they do. I also assume most Christians believe everybody should be Christian (if you didn't think your own faith was best, why believe?), but that's different from proselytizing. It's not like people have never heard of Christianity before (with rare exceptions) - they have reasons for not believing in it. So proselytizing is starting an argument, and in a time of crisis, most people do not need an argument about anything. Actually, starting an argument tends to be a bad idea in general.

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I seriously hope that in light of what you have just read written by non-Christians who have been offended by actions such as this that you will refrain from doing it. It isn't appreciated and in addition to not being helpful is actually hurtful.

Yeah, I can't really imagine when I would. I can't say that I would NEVER send verses a nonChristian; I just can't imagine when I would. I think I've sent like two condolence cards in the past decade, and at least one of them was to a nonChristian. I just expressed sympathy for their loss and probably just stuck to "your family is in my thoughts and prayers," which is about what I generally say to anyone.

 

OP, I am sorry for your loss, and I do think that what that person wrote was a bit over the top. I can't imagine doing that.

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As a different agnostic/atheist, I might feel kind of odd if someone who *constantly* says "I'm praying for you" to other people would just say "I'm sorry" to me. Like, wait... I'm such a lost cause I'm not worth praying for? Not sure. Can't think of a situation like that having happened to me, and I might not notice if it did.

 

"I'm praying for you" is different from "God is my refuge and he should be your refuge too". I assume most Christians pray for people going through rough times. Saying "I'm praying for you" is kind of like "I'm doing my best to help you in the ways I can". I don't think it has any use, but they do. I also assume most Christians believe everybody should be Christian (if you didn't think your own faith was best, why believe?), but that's different from proselytizing. It's not like people have never heard of Christianity before (with rare exceptions) - they have reasons for not believing in it. So proselytizing is starting an argument, and in a time of crisis, most people do not need an argument about anything. Actually, starting an argument tends to be a bad idea in general.

 

Well, I did have the experience of someone telling me not to pray for her, in a very angry (and vulgar) way.  (It wasn't just "no thanks, I don't believe in that.")  So, that was a bit of a sting and I've been wary ever since.  

 

From my perspective, it's not a matter of someone being such a lost cause.  And it doesn't mean I wouldn't pray for you.  I would just not be comfortable telling someone I was praying for them, after that experience.  

 

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I would not send a Bible verse to an atheist or non-Christian.  When it comes to people's motives, I always try to assume cluelessness rather than maliciousness.  But they really need to learn to think of others feelings during difficult times. 

 

Sorry for that...  :grouphug:

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saying "I'll light a candle to __" is akin to saying "I'm thinking of you".  - that's welcoming..

giving someone a religious verse telling them to think about it, and accept what it says, in order to be comforted is not comforting.   I'm religious - and would not find that comforting.

Honestly, even as a Christian, I would find it preachy and heavy-handed to receive what the OP received in a card.

 

Dh's grandmother who was living with us on hospice for the last two months of her life just passed away last Friday, and I might be put off at what it says in that card.

 

We had an awkward experience of having to ask our former pastor (and grandma's former pastor) to do the service even though we have moved to another church.  The former pastor and wife were very gracious, but people who are still members made a few comments which were intended as "wisdom to ponder" about us leaving the church.  Hell, can we just bury her in peace and leave it be, please?  Not the time or the place, if there ever is such a thing.

 

Mostly, I have learned that people do mean well, even if they are stumbling about in the delivery.  However, the OP's experience crosses a line.  I won't say I'm sending positive energy to people who are not Christian (I don't really know what that means), but I do make mental notes of people who are non Christian who are still open to prayers (because they know that is how their Christian friends express love and support) and those who would find it offensive or useless.  Most of my atheist friends seem to translate "I will be praying for you" into "I am sending you love and light" or some version of this.  Jesus is not in people being billy-clubbed with the Bible and offended, I know that much.  Also, I pretty much know by who is sending a card or saying something when there is a subtext I distrust and when there is just ignorance but positive intent so I react accordingly.  Not a one of us has not made a blunder in our attempts to comfort someone, but I can honestly say that I never used someone's tragedy as an opportunity to try to make a religious point.

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Though I've already said that I make a point of not sending anything religious to people who are not religious, I do find it surprising how many people experience such bitterness toward people who do send them heart-felt notes that mention religion. 

...

I guess I don't understand where all this bitterness comes from, and why people assume such selfish, ill-intent.

 

It's not just about "mentioning religion." Saying "I will pray for you in this difficult time" is one thing; saying "I will pray that you accept my religion in this difficult time" is quite another. The first sentiment is an expression of the sender's beliefs; it says "This is what I am doing for you." The second is a judgment about the recipient's nonbelief; it says "this is what you need to do if you want to feel better."

 

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How kind of you, in the midst of your own pain, to seek out alternate explanations for words that have added to your pain. 

 

It's the last line, I think, that is the part that sounds like... well, like teaching. (It would sound like that if written to me and I share the religious point of view.)  Up to that point, she could have been offering comfort. 

 

A lot of people, Christian or not, don't know how to offer support to someone in crisis and are afraid of pain and say stupid stuff. Stupid stuff is, I think, most often a way for the comforter to feel comforted. "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger," " Time will heal," blah blah blah. A friend of mine had someone say to her at her dh's funeral, "You're still young and pretty. You'll get another one." :huh:  As if husbands were houses or something. It doesn't have to be religious, but religious people are more likely to offer their stupid stuff in religious words. The effect in all these cases is for the person not in crisis to create some distance from the one in crisis. (Unless of course, they get slapped.)  It's easier to write or say platitudes than to hang with someone in pain.  

 

People don't filter well, either. If person A gets a cancer diagnosis, I guarantee that she will have several conversations with people who have lost loved ones to cancer. They tell her about it. It triggers their own grief, and they forget a filter of "How does this sound to her? Is this encouraging for her to hear right now?"  Anyway, I think religious language is a subcategory of these other more general human responses. 

 

When a religious person says she is praying for you, however, that can be something to say (ie a platitude) but it could be that the person is spending time throughout the day, thinking of your situation and seeking help. Prayer is work and it can be the equivalent energy expenditure to making you a meal.  It's not necessarily a distancing thing, though it can be. 

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If I know someone doesn't share my beliefs, I don't offer my beliefs in the midst of a crisis or trauma. People in grief or crisis aren't open to that--they're focused on their pain and survival. Maybe later, if they seem willing or open, I will discuss my beliefs with them, but not during the intensity of whatever they're going through. For one, it's insensitive and IMO, it cheapens the message and sounds flippant. 

 

I think people need to be dealt with on a basic human level when in crisis--if there's a need, meet it. Talk later. 

 

And, I've had really stupid things said to me when we were in crisis. When I had a m/c, someone said, "Well, just be thankful for the kids you already have." As if I weren't thankful for them and should just blow off the death of this unborn life because I already have other kids. 

 

Another was during my divorce. Some dumb *ss told me, "I'd think being cheated on with other men would be easier to deal with than other women. After all, it wasn't like he wanted another version of you!"  Seriously. That TOTALLY made it all better. /sarcasm

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 If they throw their God crap at me at my own mother's service, I WILL say something unsavory. I need to come up with a pointed but not vulgar response. I'm adding that to my To Do list. 

Stephanie, I'm sorry for your loss. I hope you can summon all your inner strength to deal with the coming days.

 

Here are a few stock phrases you can use at the memorial service. Some of them have hidden zingers that probably won't register with the recipients but that you might relish.

 

Thank you for coming to Mom's funeral. (while thinking, you didn't show up when it would have meant something to her).

 

Thank you for sharing your thoughts. (nobody said they were kind or comforting thoughts).

 

Bless your heart! (in response to any inappropriate verse sharing, she's in a better place, she's at home with Jesus, etc. comments). I think this will pass under the radar in the context, but you can think of the Southern schaudenfreude usage while saying it in the receiving line. 

 

You have every right to feel upset with the people who didn't help when your mom needed them and then put in an appearance at her memorial to show what kind people they are. I hope these just slightly modified phrases help you get through the ordeal.

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I think when someone chooses to share their deepest selves, which for many is an identity in Christ, with you in an effort to support and encourage you that it's never "wrong". It may not be your way, but it's them at their deepest trying to connect and help in a way that is most important to them. I think it would be inauthentic for people of faith to react any other way. I don't think anyone is trying to manipulate or preach, but are sharing the most sacred part of who they are and where they have found / find comfort.

 

Saying that people who push their religious beliefs on those who don't share them are just "trying to help in a way that is most important to them" perfectly highlights what the problem is here. Expressing sympathy in a way that is comforting to the recipient, rather than making it all about the sender, is not "inauthentic." If someone is really so insensitive that they can't help but use another person's pain as an opportunity for proselytizing, then perhaps they should just refrain from sending a card.  

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I am adamantly opposed to expressions of support and comfort that are nothing more than disguised attempts at evangelizing. So rude. So distasteful.

 

When friends and acquaintances of mine that do not share my faith are going through a rough time, I tell them that I am thinking of them often and ask if there is anything practical that I can do for them.

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Honestly, even as a Christian, I would find it preachy and heavy-handed to receive what the OP received in a card.   yep.

 

Dh's grandmother who was living with us on hospice for the last two months of her life just passed away last Friday, and I might be put off at what it says in that card.    you have my deepest condolences.

 

We had an awkward experience of having to ask our former pastor (and grandma's former pastor) to do the service even though we have moved to another church.  The former pastor and wife were very gracious, but people who are still members made a few comments which were intended as "wisdom to ponder" about us leaving the church.  Hell, can we just bury her in peace and leave it be, please?  Not the time or the place, if there ever is such a thing.

 

Mostly, I have learned that people do mean well, even if they are stumbling about in the delivery.  However, the OP's experience crosses a line.  I won't say I'm sending positive energy to people who are not Christian (I don't really know what that means), but I do make mental notes of people who are non Christian who are still open to prayers (because they know that is how their Christian friends express love and support) and those who would find it offensive or useless.  Most of my atheist friends seem to translate "I will be praying for you" into "I am sending you love and light" or some version of this.  Jesus is not in people being billy-clubbed with the Bible and offended, I know that much.  Also, I pretty much know by who is sending a card or saying something when there is a subtext I distrust and when there is just ignorance but positive intent so I react accordingly.  Not a one of us has not made a blunder in our attempts to comfort someone, but I can honestly say that I never used someone's tragedy as an opportunity to try to make a religious point.

 

most people mean well - even if they're awkward and would do better to just give the stand-by "I'm so sorry for your loss" and move on.  I've known a few :toetap05:  . . . . .  (bless their heart.  :glare: )

 

Saying that people who push their religious beliefs on those who don't share them are just "trying to help in a way that is most important to them" perfectly highlights what the problem is here. Expressing sympathy in a way that is comforting to the recipient, rather than making it all about the sender, is not "inauthentic." If someone is really so insensitive that they can't help but use another person's pain as an opportunity for proselytizing, then perhaps they should just refrain from sending a card.  

 

or stick to just some sickly-sweet (re: gag worthy) hallmark special and do nothing but sign their name.

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I do believe most people mean well and honestly do not see how their words affect others; they're so wrapped up in their particular bubble, it's not easy for them to step out of it and view the situation from another's pov.  My mother once received a card from a good friend during a very difficult time in her life.  The whole point of the card was to let my mom know that the sender was praying that she would come to accept the restored gospel and true priesthood.  Seriously?  She couldn't set aside her missionary work long enough to send my mom a card during a difficult time.  It's even more offensive when you realize my mom was a Christian and active in her church.  To be fair, I think this woman was so insulated in her little bubble, she truly could not see how that card was not in the least helpful and rude, nor could she see how that would negatively impact their friendship.  It was all about her religion, an opportunity to be a missionary, not about my mom.

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Though I've already said that I make a point of not sending anything religious to people who are not religious, I do find it surprising how many people experience such bitterness toward people who do send them heart-felt notes that mention religion. 

 

Verses like the ones illustrated by the OP blame the person hurting for hurting. It's blaming the victim, kicking her when she's down. It's mean. It's cruel. It serves nothing more than to placate the uncomfortable feelings of the person sending the verse. In the opinions of some, it's nothing more than ego-masturbatory claptrap spewed all over the person hurting, and that's a retched thing to do to someone in pain. 

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I am a Christian, but I would feel as you do. In those situations, I tell myself that the person meant well and is truly concerned about me. I do believe that most people are doing the best they can and don't realize how negatively they come across. That belief helps me forgive and let go of grudges.

 

I'm sorry you're going through a crisis.  :grouphug:

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….

 

I feel for you. My mom just died. I am dreading, absolutely dreading, the flood of cards with that sort of crap in them. For "propriety", I think I will pay my housekeeper/Mom's former aide to write the thank you notes for all of those ones . . . and I'll just sign my name without looking. I'll have her make a list of names for me to keep, so I know who sent cards, but I won't read the ones that will piss me off. I was actually a comfortable maybe/maybe not Episcopal until Mom got sick a few years ago . . . Seeing the "true colors" of her crappy-shitty-not-real-friends at church all abandon her (while still happily taking her checks, no matter how garbled they were by her dementia) . . . anyway, I hate them all now. Hate them. (I admit there are a very few that were kind and loyal. VERY FEW.) I fear that they'll all show up at her memorial service (which we are pointedly NOT holding in a church). And, it'll be all I can do not to slap each one as they come through the receiving line. If they throw their God crap at me at my own mother's service, I WILL say something unsavory. I need to come up with a pointed but not vulgar response. I'm adding that to my To Do list. 

 

((((hugs)))) to you and your family while you are going through a difficult time. 

 

Stephanie, I am very sorry for your loss.  :grouphug:

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Well, I did have the experience of someone telling me not to pray for her, in a very angry (and vulgar) way.  (It wasn't just "no thanks, I don't believe in that.")  So, that was a bit of a sting and I've been wary ever since.  

 

From my perspective, it's not a matter of someone being such a lost cause.  And it doesn't mean I wouldn't pray for you.  I would just not be comfortable telling someone I was praying for them, after that experience.  

 

 

My point was mostly that you just can't know how someone is going to interpret it. I think it's one of those "you can't win" situations. I'm sorry that other person got mad at you. IMO, if you don't believe in god/prayer, then who cares if you pray for someone? So long as you're not telling them "let's sit down and pray together", I just don't believe it's worth more than rolling your eyes over at worst (and no, I don't roll my eyes at people who say they'll pray for me, unless they're trying to pray-the-gay-away or stuff like that, for which eye rolling would be the mildest possible response imo).

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