There are a lot of hurting people in the world today. We see it displayed on the news each day as they deal with drug addiction, maninfesting itself through overdose, robbery to support their habit, or the murder of a drug dealer or one who couldn’t pay up. We see sexual immorality displayed through prostitution, divorce, living together out of wedlock, and homosexuality. The sins continue as they look for something, anything that will fill the hole in their life.
For some, the hurt is from the loss of a loved one, loneliness, financial trouble, or some other issue that may not be a sin, but keeps them isolated They know they need help, but don’t know how to get it, or where to even start looking.
As you make new friends, you may find one of these issues in their life. They may be reluctant to share it with you. They are embarrassed about the poor decision they have made. They fear that you will see them as weak or needy. If they won’t share their hurt with you, though, how can you help them? This is where you need to listen carefully.
Your ability to listen carefully to others is very important in your ability to share you witness. During a recent Bible study, some of the group shared their story of how they come to know Jesus. One of the group started sharing her testimony, then stopped. She explained that at this point, her story may change. Not that there would be anything untrue or manipulative, but, she explained, would depend on what the other person needed to hear. Her focus was on the other person.
How can you know what problems or issues your friend is facing? Listen carefully. To listen, you must first ask the right questions, and pay close attention to the words, tone, and actions as your friend answers. Do you feel you are getting the truth, or being placated, in hopes that you won’t learn their struggles? Sometimes, sharing your own story as it relates to this issue may help them to understand that they aren’t the only one who has faced such an issue. Don’t be the know-it-all answer man, though, telling them exactly how they should fix the problem. Let them ask you how you handled it. Your answer may help them come to the right solution to their problem.
More than anything else, let them know you are there for them, to help in any way you can. Tell them that you would like to pray for them, asking how they want you to pray. Before parting ways, ask to pray with them before you go.
Don’t forget to follow up! If you do nothing, nor talk to them again for a long while, you will reinforce their notion that you are rejecting their friendship, or that you were just being nosey in the first place. You said you would help. You said you would pray. Don’t wait for them to come to you. Be there, doing what needs to be done, praying what needs to be prayed. You are doing and being what Christ asked of us.