Two Questions Never to Ask the Unemployed

Here are two questions never to ask the unemployed:

Don’t ask, “How are you doing?” unless you are willing to sit and listen for a while. There’s no easy answer to it.

We’re doing about as you might expect. We’re doing poorly because we don’t have work but still have all the usual bills. We’re alternately feeling good because we sense a wide open door to try new things and bad because so many doors seem to be closed. We’re struggling with feelings of low self esteem because we cannot provide for our families and are always seeking help. We’re happy to see more of our families (though the feeling might not always be reciprocated).

Don’t ask, “Is there anything I can do?” Of course there is; we’re unemployed. We don’t want to be a burden, and we feel embarrassed about our situation, and so you may have to draw the information out of us. We need prayer, job leads, assistance navigating government aid programs, money, help with the kids, someone to listen.

Instead of asking this question, ascertain what our needs are and ask, “May I help you with … ?” Be specific, persistent, and gentle. Our lips may at first say “No,” but chances are our hearts are saying “Yes.”

About Stan Guthrie

Stan Guthrie is an editor at large for Christianity Today magazine and for the Chuck Colson Center for Christian Worldview. His latest book is God's Story in 66 Verses. He also is author of All that Jesus Asks: How His Questions Can Teach and Transform Us, Missions in the Third Millennium: 21 Key Trends for the 21st Century, and A Concise Guide to Bible Prophecy. He is co-author of The Sacrament of Evangelism. Besides authoring, writing, and editing books, Stan is a literary agent, bringing together good authors, good books, and good publishers. Stan writes the monthly Priorities colum for BreakPoint.org. He has appeared on National Public Radio's €œTell Me More,€ WGN's Milt Rosenberg program, and many Christian shows, including The Eric Metaxas Show and Moody Radio'€™s €œNew Day Florida.€ A licensed minister and an inspirational speaker, he served as moderator for the Christian Book Expo panel discussion, Does the God of Christianity Exist, and What Difference Does It Make?
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