Have you ever stood by and watched guilt or grief or some other kind of pain eat away at someone you cared about? You may have felt nearly as helpless as that hurting person. What can you do for the friend, family member, co-worker, or neighbor whose life is coming apart from inner pain? Some ways you may be able to help hurting people....
1. Listen. Use your ears more than your mouth. Dont let the urge to offer advice get in the way of hearing what the person has to say. Usually, just having someone who cares enough to really listen will help relieve a hurting heart.
2. Ask questions. They can be hard, pointed, maybe even leading questions. This approach will often help people look at options they may not have considered. Just as important, it lets them make their own decisions.
3. Dont be squeamish. Where theres an infection, theres pus. You will probably feel uncomfortable at first about getting into the details of another persons pain. But that person may need to express things most people dont want to hear.
4. Dont be judgmental. If its guilt poisoning someones heart, you might hear a confession that will shock or sicken you. Try to remember the old saying, “Love the sinner and hate the sin.” Instead of piling on more guilt, be a channel of Gods grace.
5. Dont tattle. Legally and morally, you may not be able to keep everything a person tells you confidential. Yet you certainly have an obligation not to gossip.
6. Go get help. This isnt always necessary. And you should get a hurting persons permission before you take this step. But dont think you have to help that person all by yourself, and dont feel bad if someone needs more help than you can give.
7. Share the Good News. Dont be shy about opening up your Bible. You might check a concordance or ask your pastor for appropriate passages. If the person doesnt already belong to church, invite him or her to yours. There is grace in the communion of the saints.
8. Pray. Make sure you pray with and for people you want to help. They will appreciate it, and you will be leading them into the presence of our faithful Savior, who heals body and soul, in life and in death.