Helping the hurting (4)
When someone tells you all their problems, and you can see that they’re hurting, it’s often our instinct to want to do something to fix things. We want to give them advice and take charge of the situation. Sometimes people need us to do that, but sometimes it can actually be damaging, both for them and for us. If we take on all their problems and make ourselves responsible for fixing them, we can become stressed and burned out. Often it’s only God who can fix the situation. Also, if we take control, we’re preventing the person from learning to lean on God through what they’re going through. In Mark 10 we read about a blind man called Bartimaeus. He cried out to Jesus and Jesus asked ‘What do you want me to do for you?’ This might sound strange because Jesus knew the man was blind, and knew that he would want to be healed. By asking, Jesus allowed Bartimaeus to declare out loud exactly what he wanted. How often do we simply assume we know what other people need, rather than asking them what we can do for them? If we take the time to ask, we might find that they simply want someone to sit with them while they cry, to not say anything but just be there. The Bible says: ‘Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn’ (Romans 12:15 NIV). This means we need to try to recognise the emotions of another person. Sometimes people just need to feel understood and be told that it’s okay to feel what they’re feeling, rather than being given advice. Let’s be people who ask how we can help before stepping in.
Next time someone tells you about a tough situation, or how they’re feeling, try to just listen and ask if there’s anything you can do to help.
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