Thinking Out Loud

April 7, 2013

When Things Aren’t “Fine”

Daniel White turned off the car engine and just sat in his car for an extra 30 seconds before walking into the church.  On entering the church lobby there was a rush of sound as children carrying Sunday School take-home papers ran through the lobby, a woman at a table spoke loudly selling tickets for an upcoming banquet, and people engaged in conversation while drinking coffee from the church’s new café, open five days a week besides Sunday.

Fred Smits, the director of mens ministry spied Daniel coming in and with a big smile and a firm handshake asked Daniel how he was doing.

“Fine;” Daniel replied. But Daniel was far from fine.  As he said the words, he was looking at Fred and internally screaming, “Help me!”  The mental scream was so loud he wondered how Fred could not hear it.

“Good to hear;” replied Fred before noticing another member of the mens group arriving through the same door.

There is better acting done in that church lobby than you’ll ever see on the great stages of London and New York.  People saying things are ‘fine’ when inside they are screaming.

So what about Fred and Daniel?  Is it up to people who are hurting to be more honest, or is it up to the people who ask the question to probe deeper, to spend more time beyond superficial greeting?



  1. I have learned to key into the “Help Me” behind the “Fine” and respond to those moments with a second question. “Are you really fine?” Most of the time this acts as permission for them to become honest and share their pain. I believe that it is up to Jesus followers to fine tune their spiritual intuitions rather than wait for the wounded to limp over and open up their hearts uninvited..

    Comment by Cynthia — April 7, 2013 @ 5:12 pm

  2. It depends on the person/s. Firstly, every Christian should have someone (accountability partner or close friend) with whom they can share and/or a pastoral care worker. Secondly, every Christian should have a concern (not just a greeting) for their brothers and sisters and should be able to discern if someone is screaming inside. A simple, eye-to-eye “ARE you fine? Really?” or a “What sort of week have you had?” or other follow-up question to allow further talk if wanted.

    Comment by meetingintheclouds — April 10, 2013 @ 1:00 am

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