Today for May’s synchroblog several bloggers are writing about how to help Christians know what to do and what to say when others are going through times pain or hardship.
It’s not easy finding the words for these but here are my four tips based on my own experiences:
1. Be approachable – not intimidating
I remember being intimidated when everyone gathered round me to pray. I’d just been made redundant. I am sure that that everyone wanted the best for me. But I found myself backing away from them as they offered their loudly hyped up ‘faith filled’ prayers on my behalf.
2. Be approving – not patronising
On another occasion I remember feeling the Holy Spirit comfort me during a time of worship. I was experiencing something deep. I must have looked upset because someone asked if they could pray for me. Again they were well meaning but somehow they came over as patronising because I hadn’t ‘got it all together’.
3. Be available – not too distant
More recently when my mother died I was so grateful to have our church home-group that meets in our home around me. They were just getting on with activities as normal but being there for me. It was great to be given some space but still be able to get a sympathetic listening ear when I needed it.
4. Be adaptable
I’ve appreciated when people have just been there for me, rather than when they have felt they have needed to sort out the situation. But over the years I’ve heard others sometimes complain because the church hasn’t been given the support they expected. Everyone is different and it isn’t always that easy to tune into their needs.
I wonder what you would add as number five.
Here are the other synchroblog posts:
- Comforting those who Hurt – K. W. Leslie
- Unto the Least of These – J. Stahl
- Like a Motherless Child – Carol Kuniholm
- Exploding Bridges and How to Help People – Phil Lancaster
- The Ministry of Presence – Glenn Hager
- The Problem of Pain – Chris Jefferies
- When Sorry Seems to b the Hardest Word - Doreen A Mannion
- What Seems to Help in the Midst of Pain – Kathy Escobar
- Mourning with those who Mourn – Jeremy Myers
- What He Told The Home Crowd – Tim Nichols
- Manifesting the Spirit - Margaret Boelman