What Not to Say to a Bullied Minister
Being bullied is an exceedingly traumatic experience. And, well-meaning friends and relations may inadvertently add to the pain with clichés and misplaced advice. Below is a collection of phrases you should never say to a bullied minister - all were said to us at one time or another!
- I'm aware that you believe you were bullied.
- Oh, these things happen, you just forgive and move on.
- Dealing with difficult people is part of the job.
- No pain, no gain.
- You've got to put the past behind you and move forward.
- The problem is not the bullying, but your inability to cope with it.
- Inability to cope with stress is a sign of spiritual inadequacy.
- Depression is a spiritual problem.
- Pray harder and it will all go away.
- Bullying doesn't happen in the church - we're a caring organisation.
Don't understand why these phrases are unhelpful?
Want to suggest another unhelpful phrase from your own experience?
Contact us at the e-mail address shown on our home page.
Here are some of the suggestions we've received:
- Wait on the Lord, do nothing, God will intervene in his time.
- Time is a great healer.
- God is letting this happen because he has something important to teach you.
- All you have to do is call out to God.
- God doesn't put more on you than you can bear.
- Don't go and see a doctor - that's what Satan wants you to do.
- You can't possibly be a Christian if you don't enjoy your life.
- There must be some secret sin you haven't confessed.
- I've told you many times - all you have to do is read the Bible!
- I wonder if you've ever known the Lord.
- Your problem is spiritual: you are either disobedient to God, or you are living a lie.
- You need to control your wife better or you'll never serve in this ministry. (To a minister)
- Get a grip. Your emotions don't count. Ignore them. (To his wife)
- You are constantly in our prayers.
- The Bishop (Chairman/Elders etc) will have your best interests at heart.
- That's not the problem, but what you perceive to be the problem.
- Grow up..... you are more than a conqueror.
- Maybe you should consider if you really were called to be at this church. Perhaps you just wanted to move into this area.
- If you decide that you are not called to be here I will support your decision.
- It was God's will that you were fired, or at least God allowed it.
- You are doing Satan's work by saying that you were abused.
- It's impossible for a minister to abuse staff. They are trained professionals.
- You would comply if you really loved the Lord.
- Oh, you're just a troublemaker.
- Stop whining, you sound like an attention-seeker.
- People who complain are just cowardly.
- I don't want to be like Job's friends, but.....
- If you were really called, God would bless you.
- We'll pray for you.
- You have to submit to those in authority over you.
- When we see someone struggling, we have to keep in mind that God may be working something in their heart and we do not want to interfere with what God is doing.
- You really need to develop a thicker skin!
- Put on your big girl boots and rise above it.
- Don't you think you might be overreacting?
- Why don't you grow a set and use them...
- Cowboy up, man... You need to solve the problem...
- Stop living in the past.
- You can't keep living in fear...
- Don't leave. They need your insights.
- Stay. The church is worthy of your suffering.
- Canon X said we're the healthiest parish in the diocese!
- It's how we do things in the world out there... church is no different so grow up and take it! If it hurts... tough!
- You are being punished for your sins.
- That person could not be a bully. They have been here for years and I have never had a problem with them.
- They are great contributors to the church. They can't be that bad.
- Are you sure they were not joking?
- Gird up your loins.
BALM Home Page
Introducing the Founders of BALM
How to Support a Bullied Minister
What Not to Say to a Bullied Minister
How Bullying has Affected Me
Bullying and Spirituality
Links to Other Websites and Organisations
Counselling with Care
Bullied in Ministry
Bullying in the Church
Bullying and Burnout
Submission on Clergy Stress
Additional Resources on Church Abuse