How To Comfort Those Who Are Hurting

hurtsWhat doesn’t kill a person might make them stronger, but sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes it just hurts, discourages, weighs them down.

God wants you to do something about it. He wants you to do for hurting people the same as he’s done for you:

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. (2 Corinthians 1:3-4.)

When you do this, the picture up there might change to look more like this:

comfort

This is the way of God:

Comfort, comfort my people,
    says your God. (Isaiah 40:1.)

If you are hurting and discouraged, I pray God will comfort you and bring people alongside you to be with you and encourage you. If you see someone who is hurting and discouraged, I pray God will guide you in being with that person to comfort and encourage them.

***

When have you had the opportunity to comfort and encourage someone?

How have you been comforted and encouraged by a person God put in your life?

***

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8 Responses to How To Comfort Those Who Are Hurting

  1. Pastor Bob says:

    “That which doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”
    Does not say when…..
    BUT!!!
    the Christian is called to copmfort, support, guide those those who have been hurt. Very Few Christians would inflict thoughtless injury in a deliberate way. Early in my Chritian life I read this, and as i grew in Him it made even more sense:
    –God Does not comfort us to make us comfortable,
    —-He comforts us so that we may comfort others.

    This post has let me see where that thought originated.
    (… so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. (2 Corinthians 1:3-4.))
    Thanks!!

    • Tim says:

      The word “comfort” in that passage is from the same Greek word we get “counselor” when Jesus speaks of the Holy Spirit. It’s Parakaleo, if I remember right, and it is used for someone who comes alongside others. That’s where the comfort is found, in God coming alongside us.

  2. Jeannie says:

    Tim, your post immediately made me think of that wonderful moment in “Handel’s Messiah” when the Overture has ended and the tenor stands up, opens his mouth, and sings, “Comfort ye … my people.” The whole chapter of Isaiah that that section is based on gives so much comfort and encouragement, reminding us that God is just and forgiving, that he never grows weary, that he gives strength to the weak. These are all things that we can remind others of when they are discouraged. But of course we should do so much more than just offer words — be there, listen, pray, embrace.

    • Tim says:

      Being there is the beginning of comfort, I think. Everything flows from presence. I’m glad we belong to the God Who Is There, and that he desires to be with us.

  3. Laura Droege says:

    Part of offering comfort is knowing what that person needs: a hug? a listening ear? words of encouragement? Some things are more appropriate than others, depending on the situation and person and your relationship to them. I, for example, HATE being hugged by people other than my husband or kids. I tolerate it, but it doesn’t convey comfort for me, but disrespect for my physical boundaries. (The other person doesn’t know this and means well, of course, so I try to take it in the spirit with which it is intended.) But I think about the abuse victims I’ve known, and how physical touch can be difficult or healing; they’ve needed others to respect their right to say, “no, please don’t touch me” or “yes, a hug would be nice.”

    One of the times I have been most encouraged in my bipolar disorder was a few years ago. A man in our small group had seen me at church and noticed that I looked depressed. He was right. After a meeting, he sat beside me and asked what was going on. All he did was listen while I talked–or struggled to find the words–about this particular depressive episode. After I stopped, he said that his late wife had struggled with depression, too, and he would be praying for me. Later, he sent me an email with a story that I had heard before: a missionary in Africa had been in great danger one night from the hostile tribe near him. But nothing happened. Later, the tribal chief told him that he and his men were going to attack but were frightened by the warriors surrounding the missionary’s hut. “What warriors?” the missionary wondered. Back in the States, certain people in his church had gathered that particular night and been praying for his safety! The message this story conveyed was that 1) my depression was a battle, and not exclusively chemical one, either, and 2) he was praying on my behalf in my battle. He didn’t have to say anything else, but that email was a great comfort to me.

    Whew! Long comment.

    • Tim says:

      That is a wonderful comment, and not long at all, Laura. Part of being able to comfort others is knowing the situation well enough to discern what the person needs. I am encouraged by the story you tell of the man who came alongside you both literally and through the email follow-up.

  4. Adriana says:

    Tim, The most recent time that comes to mind was after my surgery when I went to stay at my Aunt Bonita’s house. She wasn’t able to take off work for more than a day and she was concerned about leaving me alone in the house while she and my uncle were away for several hours. I heard some commotion in the kitchen as I drifted off to sleep that night in her guest bedroom. The rattling of pots and pans — that sort of thing.

    The next morning I woke up alone in soft, clean white bedding. There was a fortress of coolers around the sides of the bed. I crawled across the comforter and peered inside them. There was yogurt, fruit, muffins, a salad, a turkey sandwich and bottles of cold water. Next to the bed was a small vase of flowers from my Aunt’s garden and a thermos of hot coffee! Every need was considered and tended to in advance. I felt so loved!

    I called to thank her and told her I felt like Sarah Crew in a Little Princess when she and her friend Becky awaken to a feast in the attic which had been secretly prepared for them by a compassionate neighbor.

    • Tim says:

      That is my favorite scene from the whole movie, Adriana. And it truly sounds like you lived it in real life. What a wonderful aunt and uncle you have.

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