Just do it. You just need to say no.
JUST. RARELY have I heard the word “just” used, in the form of advice, when it didn’t over-simplify and minimize a more complex issue. Sometimes simplification is needed, BUT more often, when dealing with abuse, it is applying a band-aid to a severed limb.
This version of “just,” as defined by the Free Merriam-Webster Dictionary, means “simply, only.” Abuse is not simple, and there is not only one solution or option to consider.
You just need to tell him to stop. Just let him cook his own dinner. Just leave it to God. You just need to pray. You just need to keep faith. Just trust the Lord. Just wait. Just believe! JUST LEAVE…..You should JUST…..
See what I mean? On the surface, this APPEARS harmless, or maybe even helpful.
But it’s not. Coming from someone without an individual’s experience or understanding, or who has not deeply attempted to understand, it is simplistic and insulting. If a woman and children are in an abusive situation, this creates either further mental/emotional confusion. Worst case scenario, it can cloud the situation enough to place lives at risk. So, YOUR words cost you nothing to SAY; they could cost, OR ENCOURAGE AND STRENGTHEN, someone for the rest of a lifetime, and generations beyond. I am not being poetic here. One lifetime after another, one generation after another, the abuse and fear are perpetuated, OR TRANSFORMED into a BETTER view and life that will then be perpetuated.
I catch myself half way through the word on occasion. Every time I do, I do a mental stop, and ask myself what I am minimizing or oversimplifying. It never fails to open up a wiser, more complete picture. And from that, an opportunity to listen and speak from greater discernment. And even better, to know what I don’t know, and SAY NOTHING.
Which brings me back to one of my recurring themes. LISTEN!!
That urge, stronger in some of us than others, to be thinking of what we want to say next, or mentally solving the problem and wanting to verbally troubleshoot, NOW, must be set aside. We need to become calm, look at the abused woman talking to us, LISTEN to her with our entire awareness, hear what she says in words and beyond words – the core of what she is saying. She is dealing with a situation of colossal DISRESPECT to everything she is, in herself and as created by God. We must not disrespect her further by not listening, and JUST-ing. Instead, we can HONOR AND STRENGTHEN HER with one of the GREATEST FORMS OF RESPECT: LISTENING. Then, if she gives permission, and we truly have suggestions (not theoretical or theological) that MIGHT help, we can tell her politely without pushing or control.
This is life-giving opportunity.
1) We want to fix it. It is uncomfortable, so we vomit out the solution that makes easiest sense and reinforces our philosophy of life, religion, or whatever. INSTEAD, BECOME CALM AND OPEN OUR MINDS TO LISTEN AND LEARN FIRST.
2) It requires little thought or effort. INSTEAD, THINK AND DEVELOP EMPATHY; LEARN MORE. LISTEN.
3) It sounds right. INSTEAD, CONSIDER HOW IT WOULD APPLY IN REAL LIFE. Test it. LISTEN.
4) It feels like we’re being effective, wise, supportive. INSTEAD, DON’T SETTLE FOR FEELING HELPFUL, LEARN HOW TO ACTUALLY BE HELPFUL. LISTEN. EDUCATE YOURSELF.
Our WANTING to help doesn’t mean we are ABLE to help – she needs options, not another person who (like her abuser) tells her what she JUST HAS to do.
There are other definitions and synonyms for the word “just” as well, again using the Free Merriam-Webster Dictionary, that are much more useful ways to use the word:
- having a basis in or conforming to fact or reason
- agreeing with what is considered morally right or good
- treating people in a way that is considered morally right
- acting or being in conformity with what is morally upright or good
JUST – can be a four letter word.
JUST – don’t use it that way any more.
INSTEAD – BE JUST.