It gives me great comfort to know that at times Jesus was “troubled in spirit” (John 13:21). The Scriptures indicate that Jesus had this distressing feeling right before He was to “speak the truth in love” to someone He truly cared for – Judas Iscariot.
When I, as a growing Christian, feel “troubled in spirit” my next thoughts are usually ones of guilt. “A good Christian shouldn’t be so uptight…we are told not to worry…not to be anxious about anything…yet here I am fretting.” It helps me to know that Jesus understood feelings of dread and anticipatory grief.
After Jesus spoke those words of loving confrontation to Judas… “that you do, do quickly” , He launched a conversation with His disciples that would change the world. “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another”. John 13:34-35.
This “loving one another” shines most brightly in troubled times. It seems that our hearts are most open to God during crisis. God draws near to the brokenhearted. Dark times can be holy moments when believers seek to communicate God’s love and care when it is needed most.
Author and speaker Lauren Littauer Briggs shares some insights from her own times of personal tragedy and from the wisdom of others who have traveled difficult roads. Briggs and others who view this blog writes some “Do’s” and “Don’t” for helping someone when they are hurting:
- Respond in a timely manner.
- Offer caring statements that acknowledge they are going through a crisis.
- Offer specific things to help.
- Step out and help (example: I’m going to the store, will you check your milk and see if you need any).
- Help your brother or sister in Christ find a “new normal.”
- Use the agreement principle (example: if I was facing that I’d feel the same way).
- Listen to how they are feeling.
- Share Bible verses with a promise (I will be with you).
- Encourage (gently push, if there is a strong and trusting relationship already established) against the normal response of isolation. Encourage involvement in support groups, Christ-centered counseling, hospice (if applicable), grief counseling and significant friendships.
- Remember the children in the situation and that they have a need for interaction with their peers as well. The children may need counseling in a tough situation or involvement in a helping group through the church or school. Offer rides or an extra hand.
- Tell them you will pray for them and then really pray for them.
· Wait too long. It gets more awkward.
· Say things that minimize what the hurting person is going through.
· Ask “when will you be your ‘old self’ again?”
· Offer spiritual cliche’s.
· Say “HI!! How are you?!!!”
· Say “I know just how you feel!”
· Tell your hurting person, “don’t worry…have faith.”
· Don’t put time tables on the other person or compare their situation with other things.
If you have been through something difficult, and from your own experience would like to add to this “Do” and “Don’t” list, I would welcome your dialogue. You may contact me through the comments on this blog or through facebook.
Your experience can help your brothers and sisters in Christ as we seek to be better helpers and “bear one another’s burdens.” Thank you.