I had just finished reading a letter from a close friend. The letter was more of a journal she’d been keeping; a record of the good and the bad times.
She poured out stories of stress-filled days, sleepless nights, and cries of desperation.
Though I knew that God was with her; though I knew that she was looking to Him for strength and guidance, I still couldn’t keep myself from worrying.
After all, she was one of my closest friends.
When she laughed, I laughed. When she hurt, I did too.
I wanted to help her. I wanted to be there for her, but what could I do? I didn’t understand all of what she was going through. I couldn’t relate to every feeling of sadness that she had, but I had to do something.
And God gave me the patience and understanding to just be there for my friend.
This topic has been on my heart a lot these past few weeks and I recently discovered that this is a topic that a lot of teens want help with.
I’m sure that you’ve been through situations much like this one. You want to be a good friend, but aren’t quite sure how to respond when your friend is hurting.
Friendship is an amazing gift that God has given us.
We’re able to lean on each other when it’s hard and laugh together when things are good.
Sometimes we struggle with knowing how to help someone who is going through a really hard time because we want to do something that will actually make a difference.
We all struggle at one time or another. We all have friends who are going through tough times.
1 Corinthians 12:26 says, “If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.”
That’s how it is in friendship!
When I’m close with someone and they are really happy, I feel happy too! When they feel sad, I feel it too. The hard thing about helping struggling friends is feeling their pain and not being able to make it go away.
That’s why I wanted to give you 5 crucial tips for helping a hurting friend.
1. Just Be There
You’d be surprised at how much it means to have someone just be there when you’re struggling. When I’m hurting (and I’ve heard this from multiple people as well) it helps so much just to be with someone I trust.
Like one of my friends was telling me, when you’re with someone who really cares, there’s no need to feel self-conscious about how you feel. They’ll just show you that they’ll be there for you, no matter what.
Romans 12:15 says, “Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.”
Just being there and feeling your friend’s pain will make a huge difference!
Most of the time when someone is hurting they have a lot of stuff locked up inside that they really want to get out.
Sometimes they’ll ramble on and not make much sense. Sometimes they’ll let out all of their frustration and anger, but being patient and taking the time to listen and letting them unload is what they really need.
I love what James 1:19 says about listening. It says, “So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath”.
If you ask me, that is excellent advice! We should be quick to listen, but not quick to get angry. Often times when a friend is letting out their anger, it’s not really directed at you. They just aren’t sure how to let out her feelings.
Be ready to listen! It really does help!
1 Timothy 2:1 says, “First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people.”
I catch myself underestimating the power of prayer quite a bit. When I can’t fix my friend’s problem, I’m left with the mindset of “Well, I guess all I can do is pray”.
Prayer sometimes seems like the least important thing we can do when it’s actually the most powerful.
Just think. Prayer isn’t some sophisticated speech made to a distant god. It’s a conversation between you and a very personal God!
He cares about your friend more than you do and will help them because of your prayers.
4. Give Lots of Hugs!
Sometimes something as simple as a hug can speak louder than words.
There will be times when your friend doesn’t want to talk. They just want someone to hold them and comfort them.
You’re probably thinking, “Alright Kayla, now how are you going to find a Bible verse about hugging?” Well, surprise! I have one right here!
Ecclesiastes 3:5b says, “[There is] a time to embrace and a time not to embrace.”
That’s right! Sometimes it’s really just not the appreciate time to embrace, but there are other times when a big hug is perfectly okay and appreciated.
5. Give Bits of Encouraging Advice
Giving advice isn’t always what needs to be done when a friend is hurting.
However, if the time is right, feel free to give bits of encouraging advice!
Ephesians 4:29 says, “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”
If you give advice, make sure you give it in a loving manner. Your friend may want ideas on how to better deal with the situation, but they don’t want to hear “I told you so”.
These 5 tips for helping a hurting friend really do make a difference.
It’s not fun when a friend is struggling, but it is a chance to show them that you care.
- Write down these 5 tips and keep them handy for when you need them.
- This week, if you know of a friend that is hurting, try out some of these strategies and remember that just being a good friend can help a lot.
Comment below and tell me how these tips have worked in your life! I’d love to hear from you!