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?

October 18, 2016

Devotionals From This Study

to Discover More

Session 1

Gratitude Adjustment


The gift was just right. It was delivered exactly as planned. But something went wrong. Days turned to weeks, and not a word was heard ab...

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Session 2

You Are Not the Answer

If you are overwhelmed by life, take comfort in this: You are not the source to the solution. You can’t face these difficulties alone, an...

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Session 3

Put Your Knowledge Into Action

The book of Colossians encourages us to put our knowledge into practice. It’s not enough to just know information from the Bible because ...

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Session 4

Bring in the Light

Too often, we stroll through without a care in the world, consumed with self and blind to the dangers of darkness. Many fail to recognize...

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Session 5

You Have a New Address

Have you ever felt dominated by something? Like it’s ruling your life? Maybe every fall you refuse to schedule anything on Saturdays so t...

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Session 6

Do You Want to Know a Secret?

During Jesus’s ministry, “The disciples came to Him and asked, ‘Why do you speak to the people in parables?’ He replied, ‘Because the kno...

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Session 7

These Two Things Will Change Your Life

There’s no secret to God. He wants us to know and grow closer to Him. You may ask, “If there’s no secret to God, how do we work towards s...

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Session 8

Reach Out and Help

The church is effective when the body ministers to the body.In Galatians 6:2, Paul tells us to “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this w...

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Session 9

How to Know What’s True

Children easily take the opinions of others as their own. A little boy agrees with everything daddy says. A little girl comes home tellin...

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Session 10

Surrender Is Just The Beginning

Whether you stood to surrender to Jesus as an adult, were led in prayer by a camp counselor as a teen or grew up knowing His love as a ch...

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Session 11

The Difference Between Serving and Earning

Many of us have experienced the joy of being recognized for doing something good. From childhood to adulthood, we are rewarded for doing ...

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Session 12

Living Debt Free

The parable of the unforgiving servant in Matthew 18 is powerful. When Peter asked Jesus how many times he should forgive his brother, Je...

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Session 13

Following Jesus Is Not A Popularity Contest

The divisions broke down something like this: band kids, ROTC kids, jocks and jockettes, the smoking court kids, geeks, preppies, and fin...

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Session 14

Jesus Didn’t Die So I Could D.I.Y.

Let’s be honest. How many of us have ever read a self-help book or watched a do-it-yourself video? Revenue from sales of such items revea...

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Session 15

Be Who Jesus Wants You To Be

Have you ever asked for a second chance? It’s safe to say we all have! What’s great is God has enabled second, third and fourth chances b...

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Session 16

What Are You Craving?

Have you ever gotten a food craving so bad your mouth started watering just thinking about it? Why do you think your body craves that cer...

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Session 17

You Can Be Angry and Not Sin


During His time on Earth, Jesus not only felt anger but acted on it. After seeing people dishonor God by turning the temple courts into a...

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Session 18

How To Change Your Life

We probably all learned in school how a caterpillar builds a chrysalis and, over time, emerges as a butterfly. While it is inside the chr...

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Session 19

Character Flaws

Paul commands the Colossians to be kind, humble, gentle, patient, forgiving and loving. On our own, we can’t achieve anything on that lis...

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Session 20

Is peace really possible?

We could have peace in our lives. Christ offers it to us. Instead, we allow ourselves to get bogged down with what life throws at us. Whe...

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Session 21

We’re all designed for one purpose

We’ve all wondered, “What’s my purpose in life?” It’s a heavy question. Maybe we feel like our purpose is to work and provide for our fam...

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Session 22

How To Stay Connected

The Internet is a powerful tool. It’s the place we go to stay in touch with friends, watch videos, listen to music and shop for just abou...

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Session 23

What if Christians learned to coach, not condemn?

The tongue is a barometer of our spiritual health. The tongue allows us to put sins of the heart into action by gossiping, screaming in a...

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Session 24

Life is better together

Colossians 4:7-9 tells us those close to us can inform others, serve alongside us and encourage the hearts of those they touch. In our ch...

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Session 25

How to help a friend who’s hurting

Imagine being held in a first-century prison, when you had not done anything wrong. This was Paul’s situation when he wrote Colossians. ...

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Session 26

Which prayers does God answer?

Do you know a person who has a powerful and effective prayer life? These people seem to know what, when and how to pray. Truth is: God ha...

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Session 27

How to find friends in a big church

We can respond to being part of a church in one of two ways. We can jump in and get involved. Or, we can sit back and observe. How we res...

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Session 28

If God Did It For Them, He Will Do It For You

When someone writes a letter, they want to leave the reader with something that will encourage, motivate and compel them. They want to gi...

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