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How to help a hurting friend

Divorce, bankruptcy, death, sometimes life hits like a train. What do you do when a family member or close friend finds themselves in a deep bind?

We all come in contact with people who have needs — financial, emotional, health, spiritual. Christians can always offer help to those in need (Luke 10:37). Here are a few ways we can serve our neighbors, friends, and family:

3 Insights for Helping a Hurting Friend

1. Those who have a need are probably going to respond emotionally (Luke 7:13).

Following up with a friend after a divorce, death, or other emotional trouble is never fun. Whatever the emotions currently are, you can still bring love and peace into the situation. One of the hardest things to do is to meet people where they are in their time of need. Emotions are usually high, raw, and intense.

Jesus was consistent on how He dealt with people: He loved them no matter what. We are called to do the same.

2. Meeting the need should not be the only goal (John 4:10).

When we meet someone’s physical need (paying their power bill, providing them food, etc.), it is similar to us giving them a plastic cup to help them bail out their flooded basement. There is nothing wrong with helping someone meet their practical needs, but that isn’t going to solve their problems.

Our goal should be to introduce them to the only one that can permanently help them: Jesus.  Every time we see Jesus meet a need, the final result is His introducing Himself to the person in need. Our goal should be the same. We should use these opportunities to introduce them to Jesus and show them His love. If we don’t, we are only temporarily repairing a terminal problem.

3. People’s needs are rarely resolved overnight (Acts 6:1-7).

People are messy; situations of need always require patience. One of the most challenging things about caring for others is loving people the way Jesus loves them, no matter how they react to your efforts.  Remember:

  • They are hurting. Grace is required!
  • Jesus loved them regardless of how they acted towards Him. 
  • They may or may not say thank you! Jesus healed 10 lepers, and only one came back to express gratitude.
  • You may get used at some point! That is OK. We are responsible for our actions, not theirs!
  • We never know how the story will end! One kind act of care could lead someone to Christ.

Look for care opportunities! They are everywhere. When you find those in need, do all you can to show them the love of Jesus through your actions. In return, your one act of kindness — big or small — could change the trajectory of their entire life.

If you're hurting or need help with a hurting friend, visit the Care Room after a Sunday service at your NewSpring campus.

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