How to Help the Hurting

I am the first to admit it. I haven’t always been great at “being there.” When someone is hurting – I don’t know what to do.

Do they want to talk about their struggle? Maybe, they would rather not.

Should I visit? I will have all of my kids with me – maybe that’s too much.heart sugar cookie

I could bring a meal but, mercy, cooking isn’t exactly one of my more developed talents.

What. do. I. do? Then, while I’m beating myself up mentally about what I should or should not do, that person is left struggling. Maybe someone else has come alongside them to minister but, then again, maybe not.

I have been camped out in the book of Job for months. I have made so many notes that I have actually outlined an ebook. I would love to write it in my free time – what is that anyway?

If you have read much of Job, you are probably aware that his three friends never won any awards for their abilities to sympathize with the suffering. In the beginning, however, they actually acted appropriately and we can learn four important lessons about how to help the hurting.

Text: Job 2:11-13.

  1. They showed up. “When Job’s friends heard of all the evil that had come upon him, they each came from their own place.” They didn’t send a letter saying that they were praying. They didn’t send a text, tweet or ecard. They showed up. Face to face. Friend to friend. Scripture says they wanted to show him sympathy.
  2. They cried with him. “They raised their voices and wept.” The Bible instructs us to weep with those who weep. I don’t know about you, but I can not cry on demand. This sort of emotional response only occurs when we truly love each other. If I love you like I am called to love you, I’m going to weep when you weep.
  3. They were silent. “They sat with him…and no one spoke a word,” They didn’t pretend to know his pain. They didn’t begin to share stories about the time their cat died or their best friend moved away. They just sat there. They didn’t avoid his pain. They sat with him right in the middle of it.
  4. They saw him. “…for they saw that his suffering was very great.” The word here for “suffering” is a Hebrew word which means both pain of body and sorrow of mind. We get so caught up in our own drama and business, that we no longer really see people. It is time to slow down, look away from ourselves and really see other people. 

There are people in pain all around us. There are people carrying burdens and holding pieces of broken dreams. It’s time that I you we all saw them and showed up.

8 thoughts on “How to Help the Hurting

  1. This is something an introvert like me has a hard time doing. It’s easy to send a text or email but actually talking to a hurting person face to face is hard.

  2. SO true, Stacy. I think the technology of today has enabled us to take the easy, perhaps even cowardly way out, when really what’s needed is, like you said, to be there. Just to be there. Praying that God will help me to remember that and be obedient. Thanks for sharing.

  3. “They were silent.”

    How often I find myself at a loss for words when a friend is suffering. I feel like I should have some deep wisdom or comforting words to ease the pain. Instead of saying something of value, I end up stealing the spotlight by trying to make sense of it. Instead of helping I just ramble on.

    I live far from most of my family and friends because my husband is active duty military. While I feel like technology can definitely hurt relationships, for me it helps stay in touch. Lately I’ve tried to avoid text messages and emails. Sometimes a good old fashion phone call means so much more. It’s nice to hear a voice.

    • This is something that has convicted me. More than once recently, I have found myself responding to someone’s pain with – “I remember when..” I’m learning to hold my tongue and just be there.

      I agree that technology can be a huge blessing. I am able to interact with and pray for friends who live far away as well as people across the country that I have never met personally. It’s wonderful in those circumstances. As long as we are not hiding behind the computer when there ARE opportunities to be physically present.

      Praying for you as you are far from friends and family. Thank you for the sacrifices your family is making! Have a great weekend, Ashley!

  4. Wonderful post Stacy! What a reminder to really see people, to look outside of ourselves for the broken and suffering all around us. I always feel like I need to impart some words of wisdom, but the truth is, hurting people just need to feel loved and supported, through our actions, not by what we say.

    • Actions are so important. I remember, after going through something traumatic, I came home from work one day and my brother and his wife were just sitting on my front porch waiting on me. I’m sure we talked but, I’ll be honest, I can’t remember a single word. But I’ll never forget pulling in the driveway and seeing them sitting there.

      You are SO on the money. People don’t need our “wisdom.” They just need our love.

      Thank you for stopping by this morning! Have a great weekend, Amber!

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