When a friend is going through a very tough ordeal in life, there are just no right words to say. As friends, we care and we want to be able to help them. But sometimes, if we don't think about what we say or do, we can do more harm than good.
Our suffering friends are in a very vulnerable state and dealing with them can feel like walking on eggshells. However, we cannot turn our backs on them just because we don't exactly know the right way to help them out, right? This is the time when your friend needs you the most and he/she will count on you.
So how exactly do you deal with such situation? You must seek God's help. You need God's guidance to be able to know the right way to help your suffering friend. Here are five bible verses that will help you as well:
1. Don't fix it. Just listen.
Proverbs 10:19 says, "When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but whoever restrains his lips is prudent."
For some reason, when we see someone suffering, we feel the need to fix their problem or at least find a solution for it. We also try to come up with the best words to say to make them feel better.
However, this isn't the best way to go about this situation. Your friend doesn't cope the same way you do or the same way as other people you know. There's no generic solution to sadness and woe. So instead of trying to fix the problem, just be there for your friend and listen. Oftentimes, the best way to make a friend feel better is to simply lend an ear.
2. Stay away from comparisons.
2 Corinthians 10:12: We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise.
One of the worst mistakes you can do is to compare your friend's suffering with another person. "You should feel thankful that you didn't lose everything because there are people out there who have nothing." Trying to make your friend feel better by minimizing his-her pain doesn't really help. Right now, your friend feels like it's the end of the world and comparing their situation with other people will come out totally wrong.
So instead of comparing, just show compassion and sympathy. Say something like "I'm really sorry you have to go through this but I'm here to help you overcome it.
3. Let them struggle.
Isaiah 53:3: He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.
Because we care, we want our friend's suffering to end. On top of that, we want them to be able to move on from it too. As a result, our goal is to help them move on faster. Well, wrong again.
The truth is, your friend is going through this problem for a reason and it is all part of God's plan. Maybe your friend needs to learn a lesson the hard way or perhaps, his-her cause of suffering is to help your friend become a stronger person. Either way, your friend has to go through the struggle. God knew Jesus would suffer for man's sins and yet, He let Jesus suffer for our salvation—the greatest gift of all!
4. It's not always a mistake.
Romans 12:15: "...Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep"
Have you ever had a friend tell you that you're going through this suffering because it was actually your mistake? I have. And it's not just him telling me that it was my fault, it hurt more because I knew it was my fault and this person has to rub it in my face. Don't be that friend. Telling someone they're suffering because it's their fault anyway will never help.
As God said, we should always care for one another. Instead of pointing out the mistake, be sympathetic. Make your friend feel like he-she can pour his-her heart out to you and they won't be judged.
5. Just help.
James 1:22: Do not merely listen to the word and so deceive yourselves. Do what is says."
"Let me know if you need anything," is one of the most common things a friend will tell you. It's nice that you're extending a hand to help but the statement is just too general. Do you really expect a friend to open up to you just by saying that?
The Bible says that you should just do it. Just help out and not just say that you're going to help. For example, if your friend doesn't want to open up, send him-her an anonymous greeting card that can make them feel better. You don't have to keep pressing on the issue. Invite them for coffee, a snack or a movie and it will be your treat. Just do something nice and I'm sure your friend will appreciate the gesture.
There are struggles in life that we all must go through. What matters is that we overcome them and become better people because of it. Some people will need more help than others. Be that friend who is always ready to help, love, care, listen and understand. You may not know the right words to say, but your heart to help will be very much appreciated.