What to do when someone confesses to you

What do you do when someone you love comes to you and tells you something shocking that you were not expecting to hear? Maybe they share a sin issue that they are currently struggling with, or a confession that someone has sinned against them in a profound way. Whatever it is, they have trusted you with their pain, the weight they have been carrying, and the hurt that has kept them in brokenness.

How do you respond when someone comes to you and asks for help?

7 Essentials When Responding to Someone Who Confesses Something to You

1. Don't try to fix it.

Your friend or family told you this because they trust you, not because they expect you to make it better.  More than anything, be a friend; give support and honest advice.  It is not on your shoulders to solve the problem.  The responsibility of a trusted friend is listening and responding with grace and truth. Your goal is to create a safe place for them to share.

2. Don't react; respond.

If someone trusts you enough to share what is on their heart, the worst thing you can do is to react inappropriately.  If you feel sad or angry, express that appropriately.  Control your emotions instead of being controlled by them so that you can truly help the person who has shared with you. Instead of reacting, respond to them with love and compassion. Respond to them with the same grace and hope you would want to receive if you were in a similar situation. You have an opportunity to be a reminder of how God feels about them at a time they most need to hear it. Use the Bible to bring life and hope and never as a tool for condemnation or guilt.

3. Ask God what to say.

If someone is willing to talk about a deep secret with you, God has already began a good work in their heart. God always finishes what He starts. His kindness leads to repentance, and His love heals our hearts. Believe God can use you in this situation, and listen for how He wants you to comfort and counsel them. If you don't know what to say, take time to just pray with that person and seek the Lord together. Don't try to manufacture advice.

Instead of reacting, respond to them with love and compassion. 

4. Encourage them that they are doing the right thing by coming forward.

God opposes the proud and gives grace to the humble (James 4:6). Isolation is bondage. The purpose of God revealing sin, struggles, or pain is to bring life, hope, healing, and freedom.

5. Point them toward healing.

Jesus is our healer and our hope for freedom. There are no quick fixes. God is going to use this season in their lives to reveal lies that they believe about themselves or about Him. Healing and restoration will only come through vulnerability and repentance before the Lord.

6. Point them toward a next step.

Do your best to help them identify what the next step is for them in the healing process. You cannot force a person to change behaviors, let go of offenses, or seek other counsel. Your job is to encourage them forward in this healing process. Help them see the choices before them, but stay free of the responsibility to bring about change.

7. Pray for them.

Prayer is not a last resort.  It is the most powerful thing we can do for someone. A hurt person needs you to pray with them and for them.  Pray for them while they are with you and communicate clearly to them that you will continue to pray.  When God prompts you to pray in days to come, let them know that you are aware of them and still praying for them.

Get help and learn to help others. Visit the Care Room at a NewSpring campus on Sunday.

Related Content

to Discover More

Article

Why do Christians pray?

healing prayer peace

If I told you I was friends with comedian Conan O’Brien, you’d ask, “How often do you get t... read more

Read Article

Article

How to focus when you pray

prayer repentance overwhelmed

I don’t like dealing with things. There, I said it. I hate crying and getting emotional, and so most... read more

Read Article

Article

3 times prayer is not pleasing to God

prayer repentance thankfulness

Prayer is a daily, sometimes minute-by-minute, connection between Jesus and us. Prayer is the way we talk, pl... read more

Read Article

Article

Why healing may not be the only way to pray when someone is suffering

healing prayer faith suffering chronic pain

When I picked up the phone and Mom said, “breast cancer,” I had to stop and think about how to pr... read more

Read Article

Article

4 ways to move forward after messing up

healing mistakes repentance

Thomas Edison failed more than 10,000 times before succeeding in creating the light bulb. Steve Jobs went th... read more

Read Article

Story

When I lost hope, my church family had my back

Feb 11, 2018

healing community serving love prayer health

Brian Kalwat got a painful opportunity to see the visible love of his volunteer team. Press play to hear abou... read more

Read Story

Story

How I was touched by God’s healing hand

Nov 6, 2018

healing prayer health

Keith Faust can testify to a miracle moment when his prayer was answered by the prayer of his no ordinar... read more

Read Story

Story

Restoring a marriage destroyed by a husband’s double life

March 11, 2017

community marriage addiction jesus forgiveness honesty repentance

Kelly and Jordan Bomar faced a crisis because of a secret struggle with sexual addiction, but their marriage ... read more

Read Story

Story

My gift to be healed

April 29, 2018

healing miracles prayer faith gauntlet

Emily Wright’s crippling leg, shoulder, and arm issues stumped doctors. Then dozens witnessed the power... read more

Read Story

Story

The hidden story of the brain-dead man who woke up

Nov 12, 2017

healing miracles prayer health thankfulness

A pastor and grieving son shared a waiting room prayer. Eight years later, they came face to face in the pres... read more

Read Story

Story

The prayer for a miracle to save our baby son

Dec 27, 2016

healing miracles prayer health parenting

Cassie and Rick Littlejohn's son clung to life in the NICU. Press play to hear how God's hope arrived... read more

Read Story

Story

Why I gave up on my marriage

Nov 1, 2016

healing marriage forgiveness faith honesty divorce reconciliation

Heiko Dotterweich had given up on God and wanted to walk out on his family, until he learned there was still ... read more

Read Story

What's happening at NewSpring Church?

  • Need to Know: Weekly email to keep you informed about what's happening at NewSpring
  • Fuse News: Email for Fuse parents sent on the first Monday of the month
  • KidSpring Scoop: Email sent at the beginning of each series to give you the scoop on what's happening in KidSpring
  • Read My Bible: Daily devotional sent via text from 6-7am

Subscribe