Summary: God commands you to comfort others. If you really want to help others during times of crisis, grief, tragedy, personal loss, or even depression, it helps to know what you are doing.
How to Help the Hurting
1. Driving through Texas, a New Yorker collided with a truck carrying a horse. A few months later he tried to collect damages for his injuries. "How can you now claim to have all these injuries?" asked the insurance company’s lawyer. "According to the police report, at the time you said you were not hurt." "It’s like this," said the New Yorker. "I was lying in the road in a lot of pain, and I heard someone say the horse had a broken leg. The next thing I know the sheriff pulled out his gun and shot the horse. Then he turned to me and said, "Are you okay?"
(from James Buchanan, Sermon Central contributor)
2. A lot of hurts go undetected. The church is supposed to be a safe place where we can share our hurts with friends.
3. But a lot of folks do not know how to respond to hurts.
Romans 12:15 reads: "mourn with those who mourn" or "weep with them that weep" In Greek, the word for "mourn" or "weep" means to "sob, wail aloud."
4. 2 Cor. 1:4 says that we are to, "comfort those in any trouble."
5. Now these commands were written NOT to the elders or to church leaders, but to all Christians. God demands that you weep with those who weep and that you actively comfort others.
6. So let me ask you this question: How good are you at comforting others? How good are you at weeping with those who weep? Some of you are probably skilled in these areas; many Christians are absolutely awful in this department, while most Christians are probably somewhere in between.
7. Now despite the fact that many Christians have their own job description of a pastor, anywhere from a Chaplain to an evangelist to a hired hand, many of us prefer to find a pastor’s job description in the Bible.
8. Notice what Eph. 4:11-12 says, "It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service"
9. I wish I had more time to disciple more people one on one. I do not. But part of what church is about is to give me an opportunity to train you. It sounds egotistical and simplistic, but I think this is implied in Eph. 4:11-12. Church is supposed to be a place of training.
10. So today I am going to train you in helping those who hurt. This is an important skill to learn, for you will use it not only within the context of our church family, but also your biological family and among your friends.
11. I am not training you to be counselors. You have to decide what you are doing: are you trying to feel with others, or are you taking the role of a counselor?
12. I am training you not to give answers, but to learn to sympathize, empathize, and help those who are hurting. As we shall see later, offering answers can be counter-productive.
MAIN IDEA: God commands you to comfort others. If you really want to help others during times of crisis, grief, tragedy, personal loss, or even depression, it helps to know what you are doing.
TS------------„³ Here is some Biblical advice that works in the trenches in the battlefield of everyday life.
I. The Most Important Piece of Advice: Shut Up and Listen (Job 2:11-13)
1. I am a talker; but there are many times when it is better for me to be quiet and just listen.
2. Let’s read Job 2:11-13
(1) Job’s counselors were wonderful--until they opened their mouths and tried to fix things; they told stories of their experiences and thought they had everything figured out, and boy, did God intimidate them in the end for their foolishness!
(2) So take my advice. Stop at verse 13. Comforters are welcome; counselors should come by invitation only
God commands you to comfort others. If you really want to help others during times of crisis, grief, tragedy, personal loss, or even depression, it helps to know what you are doing.
The first thing to do is to be quiet and listen. Let the other person talk himself or herself out.
If you feel like you need to say something and fear you might forget, jot thoughts down in a notebook and bring them up later.
II. Do Not Minimize Problems In Any Way (Proverbs 25:20)
1. Singing songs to a sad heart
(1) Proberbs 25:20, "Like one who takes away a garment on a cold day, or like vinegar poured on soda, is one who sings songs to a heavy heart."
(2) By trying to get a sad person to become happy, you are adding insult to injury.