How to help a friend who's hurting
From Colossians: A 28-Day Devotional
Imagine being held in a first-century prison, when you had not done anything wrong. This was Paul’s situation when he wrote Colossians.
In verse 11, Paul thanks the believers who comforted him in his time of need. None of us have experienced a first-century imprisonment, but we all know what it’s like to go through a tough time. So how can we, like the believers in the early church, help fellow Christians who are going through difficulty?
Don't be overly enthusiastic. Proverbs 25:20 says, "Like one who takes away a garment on a cold day, or like vinegar poured on a wound, is one who sings songs to a heavy heart." Instead, a quick hello of any form is deeply meaningful, reminding the person you do care.
Don't forget the person who is hurting. Follow up with a note, visit, or email, realizing that all may not be well within a few months or even years. Your patience with the healing process is a great encouragement to the broken.
Don't reach out begrudgingly; your hurting person can tell! You will be rewarded for your tender encouragement to other believers, so be joyful about it.
Even more than human recognition, God promises not to forget “your work and the love you have shown Him as you have helped His people and continue to help them" (Hebrews 6:10). Loving other believers is ultimately a way to love God, in fulfillment to the two greatest commandments — to love God with your whole heart, soul, mind, and strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself (Mark 12:28-31). Comforting other believers in a dark place should be a high priority for every Christian.
- Who do you know who is in a dark place? What is one thing you can do today to bless that person?
- Do you know someone who has an ongoing struggle? How can you be patient and allow that person time to heal? Do you continue to pray for that person?
- Do you believe that God will reward your efforts when you bless other believers? Do you look to Him for the wisdom about how to do this?