Physical pain is (sometimes) seen. You can see the hurt. You can see the struggle. You can see the mask of determination to accomplish life through the pain. You can also see the need. You can see how to help.
Emotional hurt is not always so easily recognized. We sometimes see the effect of the hurt. We see shame. We see anger. We see bitterness. But, we usually don't know what to do when we see those things. It's easy to add to problem.
"You are so down all the time... You SHOULD be happy!" (And the person just feels shame about one more thing they SHOULD be doing.)
"You YELL at me ONE MORE TIME and I'LL..." (The person reacts in more anger- "you will not hurt me!")
"Wow, you are no fun to be around. You have something bad to say about anyone you've ever met!" (Bitterness just sinks deeper and the person feels justified in their action. "Everybody has something against me!")
But are we willing to take time to see the hurt? It's been said, "Hurting people hurt people." Most people don't want to be the way they are when it's not pretty. But life doesn't usually offer many chances for change.
Life doesn't slow down enough for people to heal.
So how can you help the hurting around you? How can you heal the broken?
#1 Never stop believing in miracles and praying.
Seek to understand. Ask questions and listen. Be okay with tears and spouts of anger. Just listen.
We've been trained to say "If there's anything you need... Please tell me!" And we sincerely mean it. But I've learned something over the years.
When I am hurting, I don't want to ask for help. I don't feel I deserve help. I feel shame and discouragement. I feel like an inconvenience, and I don't want to impose on anybody. And I don't really even want anybody to know I'm hurting! "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. I'm strong in Christ. I don't need anybody!" I think in my pride and hurt.
Don't get me wrong, I love to receive. Who doesn't, if we're honest? But I don't like to ask or beg for help.
We need to take a look at the pain in front of us and consider what it's like to walk a mile in their shoes. Physically we can see if somebody is on crutches, they need the door opened for them. If their hands were burned severely, they need food made and maybe even spoon fed to them. If their back is broken they need full service, with a smile.
We think emotions shouldn't affect the physical but they do.
Especially if someone has been hurting for awhile and there's been no season of healing.
The physical effects of emotional hurt can be overwhelming to the point where the body gives out.
How do we help in those times? When someone has been through a tragic death, a divorce, a near divorce, an abusive situation, a continual battle for the health of a loved one? Or has simply carried a word spoken over the years that has festered and fumed and turned to bitterness and has never been dealt with fully?
If we just say, "Let me know if you need anything," we will probably not get a phone call.
Take time to truly give. Be the hands and feet of God for the hurting. "Kindness leads to repentance." Love brings healing.
Assuming that the person desires healing and is seeking the proper channels to be healed (obeying the truth of God's word, seeking Godly council, seeking forgiveness and forgiving, and so forth), then even those of us who are not "professionals" can aid the healing process.
Assess our strengths and delights. What do I have that can benefit this person. I don't have money, but I have time. I don't have time, but I have money. I love to clean. I love children. I love shopping and so forth. Offer our best. Be specific.
"If you need someone to watch the kids please let me know. I have Mondays off and I like 2 days notice if possible, but I can come pick them up every Monday this month if you want and keep them for 5 hours so you can have some time to heal. Would you like that?"
"I have 3 hours on Saturday, can I come clean your house?"
"I'm buying you a gift. Do you want a maid service, a gift certificate to Walmart, dinner delivered, a babysitter, gas in your car, someone to mow your yard, or is there something you need more?"
What if it is someone we live with and see on a regular basis? We can't deplete ourselves to give to others, but we can be effective in the healing process of those hurting around us.
Ask what they need but realize they probably won't tell you everything. Maybe they are afraid to, or maybe they can't think straight enough to tell you. Pain can mess with the brain! Serve, encourage, build up and choose not to be offended when they lash out in pain. Have grace, long suffering and pray, pray, pray. (With them aloud and away from them alone) Give them time. Healing takes time. Understand, sympathize, empathize. Speak truth until it drowns out the lies. Let them know there is hope, freedom and healing and you will be there to see them to life.
Listen to them and hear the wishful thinking. Learn their love language (5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman). "See the need- fill the need." Give them time.
Wash the car
Clean the house
Babysit the kids
Take the kids to the park/library/out to eat
Fix broken things
Mow the yard
Tend the garden
Service the car
Be a secretary for a day
Tell them to go to bed, you've got it. Put on worship or the Bible on ipod and let them soak in the Presence while you handle this world.
Brush their hair
Just sit and listen
Walk with them
Take them for a drive
Read aloud to them
Make music for them
Take them somewhere for the day
Work on a project with them
Let them cry
Assure them they are loved, important and needed.
Simply- don't forget them.
Words of Encouragement:
Messages of Truth
A day out expenses covered
A special item you know they'd like