How to Help Those Who Are Hurting
We live in a broken world.
Heartbreaking, or even infuriating news, seem to be everywhere we turn.
In a broken world, there are inevitably people who are hurting. Lots of them.
And if we are to be involved in a community, we are sure to encounter people who are hurting.
The question is:
What do we Christ-followers do? How do we help? How do we point them to God?
Listen more than you talk - Often times we are so eager to help that we don't listen carefully. We talk, talk, talk and we jump into conclusion. But what we say might not actually be what the hurting needs at all! Or sometimes we don't know what to say so then we just say empty words as fillers. Whatever it is, if you're not sure what to say, the rule of thumb is stay quiet and listen. You can always come back to the subject matter after asking God for discernment and seeking wise counsel from other people.
Be patient - Should change need to take place in the hurting's heart, don't expect it to happen overnight. More often than not, change takes time. It takes the renewal of the mind through God's Word and the Spirit's help to make lasting change. Be patient and allow God to work in their hearts in His timing.
Be gracious - As you wait on God's timing, be gracious to the hurting. Show them what God's grace looks like. If you struggle with this, think of how patient and gracious God has been with YOU as He molds you and sanctifies you.
Give lots of biblical encouragement - Offer lots of encouragement in the Word. Lead them back to the Scriptures that give them everlasting hope, peace, and comfort. Help them learn how to find hope in God's Truth.
Pray with and for them - " The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective." James 5:16 Pray with the hurting and for the hurting is some of the best ways you can help them. Also take this opportunity to teach the hurting how to pray if they are new in the faith.
Shower them with love - Show them they are worthy and loved. Remind them over and over again how God sees them.
Point them to the Truth with grace - Sometimes you need a "truth talk" - laying out something about the hurting that might be hard to swallow. Pray before your conversation takes place; always use Scriptures in the right context and approach the conversation with lots of grace. One doesn't know how amazing God's grace is without first knowing what they deserve and you can't deliver this message well without grace.
Connect them with biblical counseling - If no progress is made or if you feel like you need more help, connect the hurting with biblical counseling. Through biblical counseling, the hurting can receive intensive discipleship that helps them heal. I encourage you to not "dump" them to the counselor. Be the hurting's advocate - meaning continue encouraging them and pointing them to the Truth.
We are the light of the world. Let's be the light and show them God's goodness when the hurting is asking, "if God is so good, why is this happening to me?"