Sunday, February 10, 2013

How to Comfort Others (Part 3)




If you missed parts one and two of this series, check 'em out here and here

Today we're talking about what TO do in comforting someone, as opposed to what not to do. 

DO…

Let it be all about them.
Give them an opportunity to fully express themselves without interjecting your own story unless they invite it. Every person experiences loss differently. No loss is unimportant, but they are different for each person.

Affirm What’s Important to Them
Let them share thoughts, memories, conversations, photos, etc. 

Use Appropriate touch 
A hug, an arm around or a pat on the hand. If they are uncomfortable with that, maybe just sitting nearby.

Respect their boundaries
Sense what they need, read between the lines. Do they need you close by? Do they need space? Do they need a compassionate ear? Do they need someone to just be near without talking?  

Note: grieving losses is exhausting work and takes a tremendous amount of energy.

Listen, Listen, Listen!
Give the person opportunity to talk without interruption. Listening with compassion is the greatest gift you can give.

Express sympathy
Say something as simple as “I know that nothing I can say can take away the pain of your loss, but I want you to know that I care about you and I am here for you.”

Welcome tears
They are as natural as breathing. Reassure them, tears are  nothing to be ashamed of.

Cry with them if you are moved to do so
Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep.
Romans 12:15

The greatest help to my husband and I after our miscarriage happened the day Jeff Ferguson knocked on our apartment door. He was the dean of men and the baseball coach at our college. We had no idea what to expect when he came in. I was sitting on the sofa with my knees drawn up to my face, just staring into space and crying. Larry had been rearranging furniture that didn't need to be rearranged, just trying to "do something." 

Jeff came in, sat on the sofa with us, and cried. 

He offered up no scripture verses or a sermon or easy answers. Just tears, and "I'm so sorry." It meant the world.

Another friend asked me, "what time of day is hardest for you through all this?" I said, "at about 10 pm." She said, "I'll be praying for you every single night at 10." I can't even describe how much that meant! 

Help them get professional help if necessary
They might be at a loss as to where to go. Help them find a place.

Notice practical things they may need help with 
When someone is facing loss, they often don’t have the ability to take care of practical everyday things.Notice things like: food/meals, cleaning, child care, pet care, etc.Maybe just show up and say, “I came over to walk the dog for you. Is that okay?” If they say no, don’t push.

Pray with them and for them!
It’s the most powerful thing you can do. 

"Share each other's burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ."
Galatians 6:2

Ask the Holy Spirit to help you as you help them 
"If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you."
James 1:5 

 Don’t Waste Your Own Pain
Regarding our own pain, one of my favorite sayings is, “don’t waste the pain.”
God never wastes anything…we shouldn’t either.”

Take the pain and let it become a platform.
Share it and let those who relate to it, and gather near. 

In case you’re unaware of a biblical precedent for this...

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. – 2 Corinthians 1:3-4


No comments: