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Sierra Pines Church

12 Ways to Turn Your Pain into Praise

Sapphires from Psalms

Better Than Jewels

God brings hurting people across our paths. Often we feel inadequate to handle their pain, but we have the tremendous privilege of being Jesus-with-skin- on to them. Here are some tools to help with that.

Maxine finds you at work to tell you that her oldest son is on drugs. The police called last night he’s in custody. She is devastated. Cheree comes to you at church. You can tell by the tone in her voice she’s trying not to wig out. She has breast cancer. Rita calls before you are even fully awake. Her husband just dropped a bomb on her before he left for work. He wants out of the marriage.

We can offer them the gift of a listening ear. We will listen with our hearts, and we suspend any judgment. 

WE DON’T OFFER EASY PAT ANSWERS.

 “Maxine, I told you to set boundaries with that boy!” “Cheree, the way you put away that junk food. I’m surprised it’s not a heart attack!” “You need to get that kid to Teen Challenge, Maxine. “You should call an attorney right now, Rita. He’ll take you to the cleaners if you don’t.” “Cheree, homeopathy is the answer. My coworker’s sister’s cousin cured her cancer with herbs.” 

What does that do to a hurting person? How do your easy answers affect them? It creates a logjam in their brains. MOST PEOPLE CAN FIGURE THINGS OUT FOR THEMSELVES and they need to. Your job now becomes offering them a safe place for them to be as they sort through their own thoughts to get the answers they need. 

Initially we try to help them calm down and get a grip. So 

PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR PACE, PITCH, AND TONE. That will help them be relax.  As you calmly ask more leading questions i.e. “What did the policeman say, Maxine?” 

“Did your doctor say what kind of cancer you had, Rita?” As you share with them in a soft, slow pace, there is more chance they will match your pace, pitch and tone and calm down long enough to move to a place where they can think more clearly. 

HELP THE PERSON REFOCUS THEIR PERSPECTIVE. Attitude is everything. My mother in law told me “Attitude is mind over matter? If you don’t mind, it don’t matter!” The hurting person has to see that God matters more than their pain. That He is fully in charge and He will get them through.  

I must confess that often when I am the hurting person, I don’t want to seek a positive perspective, thank you very much! I want to circle the drain in self-pity or wrap up in my bad attitude and complain. We can all be that way at times. Can’t we?

But when we are in pain, we really don’t have a choice. They maybe facing some tragic situation, but one of the best ways to get through it is to look for what’s going right. 

In Isaiah the prophet shares this about Jesus’s purpose on the earth in Isaiah 42:7, “To open the eyes that are blind, to free captives from prison and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness.” When we are caught off guard by trials, we can be held captive by our pain. Darkness can bury us so we need help focusing. (To see one woman’s journey to hope check out the latest post on our Facebook page.)

It can look like this: 

“I know this is hard and the only way I can see for you to get through this is to see what you have going for you in the midst of your pain.” If you have been there for them shouldering their burden, you will earn the right to speak into their lives in this way. This leadsthem to that realization rather than telling them what to do or, God forbid, castigating them for not going there in the first place.  

PROTECT YOURSELF.What does that look like?

BE CAREFUL NOT TO DO FOR THE HURTING PERSON WHAT THEY NEED TO DO FOR THEMSELVES. We can help them, but we need to help them help themselves. If I’m not careful and boundaried, I’ll be paying for Maxine’s son’s reahab, driving every day to he doctor with Cheree, and moving Rita and her four kids in with me all the while BLAMING GOD FOR MY EXHAUSTION! 

WE NEED TO EMPOWER NOT ENABLE.

“You can do this Maxine.”  “I believe in you, Rita!” “You’re going to make it through this, Cheree.” Helping shoulder other’s burdens can be one of life’s greatest joys both on this life and the next as we hear the Lord’s blessings for our efforts.

I hope this helps you help others. It's worth it! 

 

 

Comments

August 13, 2018 @04:36 pm

You “always” (I know! Gotta be careful with that word) say JUST the right things! Thank You!

Terri
August 13, 2018 @04:35 pm

AMEN SISTA!

Elaine
 

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