Why I Don’t Do Support Groups

I’ve never stayed long when I’ve joined a support group. I typically have found myself mentally drained after meetings, and conflicted about what has been accomplished. It wasn’t until I recently read a book on spiritual warfare that I figured out WHY, exactly, I don’t do well in a support group.

You see, I have started to realize that support groups don’t work for me because they typically become a breeding ground for gossip and an unleashing of negativity.

Don’t get me wrong. I have my days where I want to unleash my negative thoughts and feelings. And, yes, I too have some experiences where I could drop names of people who have harmed me, my child, or my cause. But, by giving voice in a public forum to those thoughts and feelings only gives them more power.

I also know that God has warned us numerous times about giving in to the desire to do so! Does our complaining accomplish anything other than provide a foothold for the devil?

In your anger do not sin…and do not give the devil a foothold.  Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen… Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Ephesians 4: 26-27, 29, 31-32 NIV

It’s nice to see people nodding along in agreement with us, and it feels good to know we are not alone in our struggles, but I think we can all agree that once the negativity train starts rolling, we find it very hard to stop, and suddenly we have a runaway train of fear, anger, and bitterness.

These emotions do not belong to God, and they are not fruit of His Spirit.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forebearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23

While the idea of support sounds great, I have found that most support groups have left me open to the devil’s attacks.

Could a Christian support group exist? Absolutely. If the group were created with an agreement that outlines the “tenants” of guided communication that lies within God’s Law and FEEDS the fruit of the Spirit; I think a support group like that would be powerful. But, it would certainly need to be prayerfully covered in protection, and the leaders would need to stay vigilant in re-directing communication toward God-honoring discussion and a true BIBLICAL perspective rather than a worldview.

So, if you have found that support groups have left something to be desired for you and your family, you can rest assured that you are not alone. I have found that connecting with a couple people who share my belief in the power of our Sovereign God and His Word has been more helpful to me as a parent of a child with special needs. I pray you can find such people in your life as well.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, You have directed us through Your scriptures that we are to reject negativity, fear and anger and that we are to hold fast to Your Word as a light on our journey. I pray that we can all find even a handful of people to help us do this. I pray we have daily reminders that fear is not invoked by YOU, rather the adversary, and he has NO power in our lives. We have within us the power of the risen Christ, and THAT is the best support we could ever hope for. Amen.

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  • Andrew Beaty

    Tammie, I’m so sorry that your experiences with support groups have been so negative! I had some of these same fears as well as being concerned that my time would be wasted just going and sitting around at our church’s Autism Support Group. However, I LOVE going and feel really bummed when I have to miss. Our group must be the opposite of what you’ve “endured”. Our members are encouraging, helpful, willing to help each other through issues at home and school, and willing to reach out to new people and they are invited in and welcomed to our group. Indeed, I would say that our group does in fact model the Fruit of the Spirit and not the negative issues from Ephesians 4. So, I wholeheartedly understand your concerns about bad support groups, but I want you to know that my wife and I have found a Christian support group that leaves us refreshed and blessed every time we go. May the Lord continue to expand the groups that are honoring to Him and not the ones who have a negative focus.