How to handle bad news

How to handle bad news

Topic: How to handle bad news and manage to survive it.

In his book, The Journey, Billy Graham described the Christian walk as a “battlefield and not a playground.” Boy, was he right!  I miss Billy Graham on earth, but He is getting his reward for the wonderful things he did on earth.

Anyway, you know, it is impossible to go through any battle and not take a few blows here and there. It’s expected, right? It’s part of the fight or the battle. As you think about how to handle bad news, remember that bad news is part of your hardship of battle. It’s all part of your Christian journey.

A good soldier endures hardship and goes through the entire process of struggle. He is in for the long haul. He is in for the entire battle. That’s the way we have to be. Still, face it, hardship is difficult to manage – especially when you “just” receive the news, and the hardship is fresh and new. 

How to handle bad news
You may seem alone, but you are NEVER alone.

The shock of bad news

When you’re still slightly in shock from it (i.e., the news), you feel as though you were catapulted from an emotional cannon.

Consider not analyzing the issue while you’re in shock. Don’t think too much. What you are dealing with may never make sense, but it certainly won’t make sense in the immediate. After all, you’re not in a place in which you can process it all just yet.

Instead of trying to figure it all out yourself, feel what you feel and identify people who can help you navigate this.

Acknowledging your feelings is a crucial step towards processing the situation. Reach out to your support network, be it friends, family, or a counselor. Sharing your thoughts and emotions with others can provide immense comfort and perspective.

Secondly, surround yourself with praise and worship music. Even if you don’t feel like listening to it, turn it on and let it play in the background of your day. I think this will help you manage your atmosphere so you don’t become surrounded by sadness.

Next, turn to the Psalms in the Bible. Search the Psalms until you can find just the right word of God to comfort you.

Don’t forget to get professional help from a Christian counselor if needed.

I have more tips for handling bad news. Handling bad news can be incredibly challenging, but there are effective strategies to navigate through these difficult moments. First and foremost, it’s important to allow yourself to feel the emotions that come with the news – whether it’s sadness, anger, or confusion.

How to handle bad news as a christian

Here are my other thoughts based on my personal experience:

1. Save the “Thinking” for later.

After receiving horrible news, don’t try to process any information. You’re shocked and shaken. Instead, just feel what you feel.

You’ll have a lifetime to process through what has happened and how. Right after it happens, just be.  I know when I got word my 34-year-old brother, Eric, had died suddenly, I made things worse for myself by trying to figure it all out IN THE MOMENT. It wasn’t the time or place for that.

Here’s how I found out I lost him:  I was leaving a Sunday evening church service when I got “that” call. 

Already in my car driving, it seemed the entire world went dark when I heard the bad news. I stupidly tried to continue driving for a moment, but in my shock, I wasn’t thinking clearly. I flooded my own mind with questions:

“What happened?”

“Could this be a mistake?”

“Did someone hurt him?”

“Where is he?”

Tears blinded my vision, my thoughts were racing, and my breathing was rapid. I felt as though I was going to pass out – right there behind that wheel!

Thankfully, I had enough sense to turn the car around and head back to the church.

I knew there I’d find someone to help me!

And that I did; I found comfort when Spirit-field women and a couple of pastors prayed for me through the immediate anguish. I can’t remember them all, but Pastor Fel was there, and so was one of my big sisters in the Lord, Wanda. My god mom was with me, too. There they were in the women’s bathroom, praying and crying out to heaven for strength and peace. All I can remember is standing against a cold concrete wall and wailing in pain.

Regardless of where you are when you receive life-changing news, please take a moment to “breathe” and feel what you are feeling. If possible, bring some other Christians around you. I can tell you that helped me so much.

If you are driving as I was, get yourself in a safe situation.  Then, still, yourself so you can feel what you feel. Don’t try to take care of anyone else for a bit. Just allow yourself to cry, scream, sit on the edge of the bed, or even sit in a parked car. Whatever it takes, take care of yourself at that moment and, if possible, allow others to take care of you too.

How to comfort someone who has received bad news

Let me switch gears and talk to people who may be in the position of offering comfort to someone after they have received bad news.

When someone receives bad news, comforting them is important. Listen without judging, be there for them, and show understanding. Let them know it’s okay to feel the way they do. Give them space to express themselves and offer support. A hug or a kind touch can make a difference. Show empathy and reassure them that they’re not alone.

2. Identify your ‘Ram in the Bush’

During life’s most challenging times, I have two particular friends I keep very close.

They are my encouragers, prayer warriors, and intercessors. I know what I can expect from them every single day, and I definitely know what I can expect during my life challenges.

Don’t go to the friend who loves the Lord but tends to stress you on the daily with her negativity or depression.

Instead, find someone strong in faith and with a resolute Christian spirit. You don’t need bad spiritual advice; you need comfort. You need help. Along the same lines, you don’t need anyone who will insert their ego or their ill-intentions into your already bad situation.

How to handle bad news

3. Live in the Psalms is how to handle bad news

Praise God for the Psalms! As I mentioned, Psalms is a lifesaver in times of struggle.

After the shock has worn off, you will need “easy-to-digest” scripture to encourage your spirit in the days ahead.

Psalms are a wonderful source of promises, praise, and encouragement for believers.

As I mentioned above, keep searching until you find the one that soothes your spirit. It’s there; you just have to find it.

How to handle bad news as a Christian Woman
Worship and Praise the Lord through your trial.

4. Keep on Praying and Praising.

There is healing in worship. That is why I advise you to maintain a worshipful environment.

During the roughest times, worship is like a salve that can soothe your trauma and pain.

It can actually lift your spirit and elevate the presence of God right where you stand.

Maybe it just makes us more aware of His presence. What do you think? Regardless, worship is crucial.

For me, sometimes, I opt for slow worship songs and other times fast. Either way, worshiping God gives me the strength to go on. Not sure what to praise Him for?

I’ll tell you:

Praise God as you reflect on the trials He’s brought you through in years past.

Praise Him because He’s kind, merciful, and loving. You can trust Him because He has promised not to leave you or forsake you.

Praise I’m because whatever is going on, it could be worse. There is always something more or worse that could have happened. Or something that could not have happened.

Whatever has happened is not a result of God not loving you. Life is complicated. We may never understand why something did or didn’t happen.

But God remains faithful. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Remember that.

Only babies (immature Christians) turn from Him in trouble. Don’t be a dumb baby, Christian Lady. Have – or cultivate- the maturity to allow this thing to build your faith – not to turn you from it.

Also, don’t neglect your prayer time. Continue to meet with Him one-on-one for strength, communication, and inspiration. Also, it’s okay to be hurt and upset with Him; He can handle your pain, anger, and lamenting.  Express it. He knows anyway…and guess what…He still loves you so much.

It’s also okay to just sit before Him without saying a word.

5. Get Outside Help, if Needed.

After a shock, you may need to get counsel, advice, or assistance from a mental health professional.

Christians who act as though counseling is a sin make me itch (i.e., mad). They really get on my nerves. 

How to handle bad news as a Christian Woman.

If your world has been turned upside down by devastating news, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with accessing help from a disinterested third party.

I’ve lost a lot of people in my lifetime. Losing two brothers within a two-year span was especially traumatic, but God gave me the strength to endure, and He will give strength to you, too! That’s how to handle bad news by leveraging His strength.

Don’t give up; you can make it.

You can recover.

Scriptures for when
you get bad news:

Psalm 18:2 ESV

The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.

1 Peter 5:7 ESV  

Casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.

James 5:13 ESV

Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise.

John 15:7 ESV

If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.

John 14:18 ESV

“I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.

One more tip as you are thinking about how to handle bad news. Practice self-compassion; treat yourself with kindness and understanding during this time.

Focus on the aspects of the situation that you can control, and channel your energy into finding solutions or coping mechanisms. Engaging in activities that bring you joy and relaxation, such as hobbies or exercise, can provide a much-needed sense of normalcy.

How to handle bad news as a Christian.

GodsyGirl is a Christian lifestyle blog featuring Christian faith articles written by an ordinary Christian woman blogger, Christian inspirational podcaster, and a pastor’s wife. GodsyGirl is about Christian inspiration and living your fullest life as a fabulous Christian woman. Explore to find articles on everything from daily Christian living to hair, makeup, and living your absolute best life!

2 thoughts on “How to handle bad news”

  1. I agree. It’s very difficult – almost counter intuitive. But, so so healing….

    What’s your “go to” song? Mine is Karen Wheaton’s “For every mountain…”

    Appreciate ya Sara!

  2. Thanks for this, Teri. I am struck by the first piece of advice as I, too, try to continue “normalcy” and push back my emotion. Also, love how you said there is healing in worship. It’s so hard to do, but so true.

    You are such an inspiration!!

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