Three Steps to Encouraging a Hurting Friend

imagesLQT2UWGPBy John Ashley


We all know people that are dealing with difficult circumstances in their lives.  We have a desire to help, but, we sometimes just don’t know what to do or say at these tough times.  I would like to give you three simple steps you can take to be a real help to those in pain.

  • Be Available.  People that are hurting often feel very isolated.  The pain they feel is real and they need someone to just come along side and be there.  Nothing needs to be said, your mere presence is an encouragement to a broken heart.
  • Be Vulnerable.  Allow yourself to open your heart up to someone else’s pain.  The reason we don’t make ourselves available many times is the fact that we don’t want to be vulnerable.  We need to let emotions flow, not only the person whom we are trying to help, but also our own emotions.  Men especially have trouble opening up to each other, but this can be invaluable to a hurting friend.
  • Be Auditory.  Be a listener.  People in grief need someone to talk to.  You don’t need to be an expert or even talk yourself, just listen.  Really listen, without thinking of what you need to say.  Hurting people just need to tell their story to someone.  Talking about how they feel, their pain, their questions (most of which there are no good answers to) just let them vent.  The best thing you can do is just listen.

Do you know someone that is hurting today?  Why not be that friend.  The one who on purpose will try to help, not so much with our words or actions, but with our presence.  I had a man come up to me at a church I was speaking in and share a story about a friend of his that lost his wife.  He told me how they used to get together as couples, go out and have fun.  However, since the passing of his wife, he hadn’t gone to see his friend because, he didn’t know what to say.  He said to me, ” I realized today I don’t need to say anything.” and that he was going to make it a point to go and see that friend.  He got it!  If he followed through with his commitment, I’m sure he encouraged his friend greatly and felt good about being a real help to him.