How to Help the Hurting

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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.   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 cannot 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 we saw them and showed up.    

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