When someone in your life is going through a difficult season, it can be hard to know what to do. Their pain can break your heart. Many people struggle with knowing how to be there for someone who is hurting. Here are a few tips.

1. Listen more than you talk.

James 1:19 says, “Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.” One of the best ways you can be there is to listen, pray, and say, “I love you.” Most people, when they’re hurting, aren’t looking for advice. They’re looking for someone to embrace the awkwardness and be there for them.

2. Let them know you care.

Saying something like, “I know this is hard for you. I’m so sad you’re going through this right now. I can only imagine how painful this must be for you. I want you to know that I care about you and I’m here for you,” will go a long way.

When it’s appropriate, you may want to share a few scriptures. Here are a few to consider:

“Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.” – Psalm 91:1

“The LORD is close to all who call on him, yes, to all who call on him sincerely…he hears their cries for help and rescue them.” – Psalm 145:18-19

“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” – Psalm 147:3

“Casting all your cares on him, because he cares for you.” – 1 Peter 5:7

“You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.” – Psalm 56:8

3. Look in appropriately.

It’s easy to drop a card in the mail and never reach out again, but it’s the consistent checking in and following up that makes people feel loved. Be sure to respect their boundaries as you do this. If they ask for space, give it to them. Don’t take it personally. Remember: They’re going through a lot right now. The request for space is more about them than it is about you.

4. Lend a hand.

That might be a hug, a meal, cleaning their house, watching their kids, giving them gift cards for groceries or dinner out on the town. Try to see their needs without having to ask them, “What can I do to help?” because nobody wants to ask for help or be a burden on someone. Here are a few resources you may want to share with them when it’s appropriate:

5. Let yourself rest.

Caring for someone who is going through a hard time is draining and time-consuming. It’s not your job to be on-call 24/7. Even Jesus took time off to rest in his earthly ministry (Mark 6:31). Make sure to set aside time to rest, recharge, and take care of your needs.

For more tips, consider reading What to Say When You Don’t Know What to Say by H. Norman Wright

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