The Tapeworm Gallery: Effective Ways to Minister to Women in Pain
As a women's ministry leader, you will encounter women struggling with all sorts of life circumstances. Whether you encounter those suffering "big T" Trauma or "little t" trauma, you will need to employ the most beneficial words or ideas. Timing is everything. The following suggestions have been successful for hundreds of years. I pray you put them to good use.
· Distribute invalidation the way a state trooper hands out speeding tickets. To conserve energy try eye-rolling.
· Give pat answers about her struggles. Examples: "God hates divorce," "God is bigger than your situation," "Trust and obey for there's no other way," "You need to submit to your husband," "Scripture only allows for divorce in cases of adultery."
· Look at her like she has ten boogers on her forehead when she admits her husband beats her, she's addicted to prescription painkillers, or that she cannot conceive a child.
· Make sure she'd attest to feeling more welcome and accepted at the local bar than in your church or Bible study group.
· If she is a church member, drill her with Bible verses (because Biblical texts offer cookbook solutions to all of life's problems. You know the old adage: just name it and claim it).
· Promise her more than the gospel offers this side of heaven. (She needs to believe that like the Johnson and Johnson shampoo, knowing Jesus brings No More Tears. It also ensures an endless carnival of uninterrupted ecstatic joy and festivity, a husband with big biceps, and perfect physical health. Note: evidence of anything less than the aforementioned abundant life warrants chastisement).
· Pit believers against one another, reminding the suffering saint her struggle is against flesh and blood.
· Remind her that God punished Job for ungodliness. Likewise, she has contributed to her own demise. That said, you must never introduce her to your daughter.
· Remember hugs are overrated.
· When she fails to heed your advice, announce that you can no longer help her. Shame is the name of the game.
· Speak before listening. And by all means, talk about yourself. A lot.
· No need for a house visit if it requires cancelling your pedicure.
· Discourage professional counseling. If it's not Biblical counseling, then it's just secular psychobabble.
· Discourage the use of psychiatric medications. The Bible never mentions mental illness. Her problem is spiritual, not chemical. And sin cannot be medicated.
· Gossip, gossip, gossip.
· Tell her you'll pray. Then don't.
· Except when you pray she'll just get over it. God hates a whiner.
Do these well, and women will come out of the wall to attend your church. Keep up the good work.