As a pastor to hundreds of people I can testify that there is no shortage of hurting people in this world. Those who are dealing with sickness, disease, personal problems, broken relationships, loneliness, financial pressure, etc. The list of reasons for the hurting seems endless.
We know that Christ came to save sinners from their sins but the hurt is often still a reality in our lives personally and corporately. Because we live in a sin cursed world and people sin they do hurtful and hateful things which always affect themselves and others as well. Christ's work on the cross and his resurrection offers sinners true spiritual healing and His biblical principles can supply us with a better life while on this earth journey toward our perfect eternal home. Yet hurt will be a part of our lives and we must learn to deal with them and help others to do the same.
With this is mind —how can we best help them? As I suggest a few ways to minister to those hurting I must admit I still am learning myself and my list is certainly not exhaustive.
FIRST- HURTING PEOPLE NEED TO KNOW SOMEONE CARES!
Sometimes when people are hurting we really don't know what to do and because of that we do nothing. Let me encourage you that even if you have no answers or any means to relieve their hurt you can care about them. Communicate your concern and cares. To remain silent will only frustrate them as they will think you don't care because you are not reaching out! You don’t need to have the answers or the means to solve their problems but your loving concern will make a major difference in their lives at their time of pain!
SECOND- HURTING PEOPLE NEED HELP IF POSSIBLE!
James chapter 2 says that if we we have the means to help a brother or sister in Christ and do nothing our faith is vain. When we see a hurting person we need to stop and ask ourselves what do I have to give that can help meet their relieve their hurt? Would some money help them? Perhaps childcare, a few meals, loaning a car, driving them to the hospital, a listening ear, a skill we possess , and countless other resources we already possess that would be great ways to help those hurting. Don't wait to be asked but be ready to use what you already have to meet needs and relieve hurt!
THIRD- HURTING PEOPLE NEED COMMUNICATION!
With so many means of communication availed to us today, we can reach out and touch others daily, weekly, and regularly as never before. Asking the how they are, what do they need, how can we pray, expressing our desire to help them carry their burden. Letting them know they are not in this alone. Phones calls, texting, messaging, email and of course there is nothing any better than a short personal visit!
FOURTH- HURTING PEOPLE NEED THE BIBLE!
When the occasion avails itself it is always proper and helpful to share Bible verses for those hurting to read and meditate upon. The Psalms are loaded with hundreds of WORDS that our Lord has given us to bring peace to our troubled souls. Verses that we can pray and sing to our Lord and as we do they will minister inwardly to our heart as nothing else will do. Share God's Word with every hurting heart!
FIVE- HURTING PEOPLE NEED PRAYER!
Sometimes the only thing we can do is pray on behalf of Hurting People! But interceding on behalf of others is one of the greatest gifts we can give to any other human and it is one of the most productive things we can do. Prayer changes things in our lives and the lives of others. The effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much” (James 5:16).
SIX- HURTING PEOPLE NEED JESUS!
Jesus is the only ONE who can bind up the hearts of the brokenhearted. He is the only ONE who can heal the heart and soul of those hurting! When we minister to another believer who is hurting, their number one need is Jesus. When we are seeking to help an unbeliever there number one need is Jesus! Let the hurting know that Jesus loves them, has saved them or will save them. Jesus is with them, He will help them. He will give them direction and in his time he will work all things out for His glory and their good!
The need to help hurting people is huge. As we look around our churches and communities, we see hurting people everywhere and to be honest it can be overwhelming. Yet, while we can’t do everything, we can all do something to show the love of Christ through our lives to those who are hurting.
“The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound” (Isaiah 61:1).
There may never be a day in our life that we don't make decisions. In fact decisions must be made on an hourly basis. Even when we think we are not making decisions we often are simply deciding to not decide. Each and every time we make decisions there is a great possibility for error, simply because in our humanity we are not all knowing! In addition, many of the choices we face aren't so clear because they don’t have an exact bible chapter and verse for us to follow. Because of this, we must claim the promise of the provision of God’s wisdom. James 1:5 says “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God….”
Thankfully as Christian's when it comes to decision-making we have HELP. Christian's can make choices based on biblical principles—claiming God’s promise to provide godly wisdom along the way.
I. DOES IT DISREGARD CLEAR TEACHINGS OF THE BIBLE?
Most of the Bible is easy to understand and comprehend! Yes there are some places the Bible takes a deeper study to glean all that it is saying but by far the majority of God's Word is very clear. In fact most of us have more of a problem with what we do understand than with what we don't understand. The best help in making any decision of any to study God's Word and grow in our knowledge of what God says. Then to be willing to obey it as we make Biblical decisions moment by moment. God inspired the Bible to communicate His person, His plan, and His principles for our lives. To give us direction in life as we choose to walk according to His will and way!
The eternal wisdom of the Bible is our greatest resource for deciding in big and small ways. Really all decisions have potential for good or bad in long lasting results.
Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.—Psalm 119:105
II. DOES IT DESECRATE MY BODY AS THE TEMPLE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT?
Christian's we must remember our bodies are not our own, they are loaned to us for this lifetime.
Our bodies were created and then purchased by God. We are just stewards of them on this earth. We need to stop and ask often questions like, Should I eat this, should I drink this? Should I watch this, should I listen to this? Should I wear this, should I think this? Considering the biblical fact that my body is not my own will help us to make many decisions based upon the fact that God owns my body. Think how that would change so many of our choices.
What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?—1 Corinthians 6:19
3. DOES IT DESTINE ANOTHER CHRISTIAN TO STUMBLE?
Some things we do may not be sinful, but they can be a cause for another Christian to sin. Paul wrote that the strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak. It is the responsibility of the spiritually mature to live in a way that builds up those weaker in the faith. It is not always is this right to do or not to do but is it best to do or not, at this time and in this setting!
Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way.—Romans 14:13
IV. DOES IT DICTATE TO ANOTHER PERSON?
Some people make decisions as if there are no other people on earth. They are so self-focused that every decision is based upon themselves only and how their choices affect others are never considered. How will this affect my family, friends, fellow believers, co- workers, my church and community are great questions to ask before making decisions! Considering the long term affects of our decisions on others will help us to make better decisions in life.
V. DOES IT DISRESPECT OUR SPIRITUAL AUTHORITY?
God uses human authorities to carry out His divine authority. Of course there is no perfect human authority, but God still tells us to submit ourselves one to another. If you are still living in the home of your parents what is their standards and rules? If you are in the work place what does your employer expect? Students how are you making decisions based upon the authority of the teacher? Citizens how are we making decisions based upon the authority of the laws of the land and those appointed to enforce those laws? In the church how is the God given authority leading the way and how are you following?
Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. - Romans 13:1
Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation.—Hebrews 13:7
VI. DOES IT DELIGHT OUR GOD?
Always our first consideration in making a decision should be will this bring glory to our Lord and will He be well pleased? Our first desire should be our Lord's great delight!
Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.—1 Corinthians 10:31
Terry has been the Senior Pastor of Liberty for 30 years. He and his wife, Karen, have 4 children, 11 grandchildren, and 1 spoiled dog named Cooper.