Do you know someone who is hurting right now? My guess is you do. Just in my small world I know of one who is short on groceries. Another who has been in the hospital. A friend has lost his father. Another had a cancer scare in their family. Still another has a child that has caused some concern.
I could go on. But you get the gist of the list. And more than likely you could make your own of people in your world who are hurting. If you’re at a loss of what to do or say here’s a few tips from a few years of helping others.
Listen. Sometimes what we need most when we are hurting the most is someone that will just listen to us.
Don’t be afraid of silence. We often are and so we begin to talk to fill the verbal void. When we do we run the risk of saying something that is not helpful and may add another hurt to the already hurting.
Let them know they are not alone. God is with them. And sometimes he wants you to be a tangible presence of his presence.
When the burden is great find some way to help. Pick up their kids. Arrange for meals. Mow the lawn. Some hurts are so big we need others to help us carry them (Galatians 6:2). You can’t do everything but you can do something.
Some hurts are self-inflicted. Don’t run to the rescue. There are some situations in which we have to carry our own load (Galatians 6:5). When this is the case help the person think through a plan for their next steps: Do they need to forgive someone? Then encourage them to forgive. Do they need to ask forgiveness? Walk with them through the steps of reconciliation. There are things that others have to do themselves. And there are times we help the most by doing less.
Empathize without changing the focus to yourself. In our desire to connect we often begin sharing our own hurts. But chances are if they came to you with their hurt they need to unload . . . not be unloaded on.
Ask if you can pray for them. I’ve never been turned down for a prayer. In troubled times people sense that they are in over their heads. They need power that is greater than what they have. Keep it simple. Here’s a short sample of what I often say:
- Father, you know _____________ is hurting because ______________.
- We know you are a good God and you love _________________.
- Would you help them? Would you heal their hurt?
- Let them know they are not alone. Today, in a tangible way, let them know you are close to them.
- In Jesus’ name, Amen.
The biggest part of helping is just being there.
Question: What have you found helpful in helping heal hurts?