“The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound” (Isaiah 61:1).
We know that Christ ultimately came to save us from our sins. Truth be told, the reason we face so many hurtful situations and circumstances in our lives is because we live in a sin-cursed world, and we are sinners. Because people are sinful, they do hurtful, hateful, and sinful things which always affect others. Christ’s work on the cross of Calvary and through the empty tomb offers sinners true healing and sets captives free.
We cannot overlook the truth, however, that Jesus also physically touched many people’s lives when He walked on this earth as the God-man. The gospels are filled with stories of Jesus helping and healing brokenhearted, sick or afflicted people. They knew Jesus not only as Redeemer but also as Healer. His ministry was one that continually dealt with hurting people.
There is no shortage of hurting people in this world. Besides those dealing with sickness and disease, we can add to this list those who are dealing with personal problems. I think of families dealing with a wayward son or daughter, or perhaps one who is betrayed by an unfaithful spouse, or rejected by family because of holding to the faith of Christ. We can add to the list those suffering because they are lonely or feel no one really cares about them. The suffering list seems endless.
The question arises from seeing human suffering and the difficulties that people face—how can we best help them? Let me attempt to answer that question. I will admit that my answers are not exhaustive, but perhaps I can help you as you seek to minister to the hurting.
First, We Must Remember That People Want to Know That We Care
When a family in our church was going through some very trying circumstances, I backed away because I didn’t know how to help them as their pastor. Later, they let me know (in no uncertain terms) that I had added to their frustration because I was not reaching out to them in their time of need. I was absolutely wrong. You don’t need to have the answers to pray with and encourage hurting people as they make hard decisions.
Second, We Must Help with Any Needs We Can
James chapter 2 says that if we do nothing when we can help, our faith is worthless. Are there things we can do? Do children need to be watched, does the grass need to be mowed, or is there something in the home that needs to be repaired?
Not long ago, I had emergency surgery which required an overnight stay in the hospital. The ladies in the church prepared and delivered dinners to our home for the next two weeks. No one asked them to do that; they just wanted to be a blessing to my wife as she took care of me. I was blessed by their thoughtfulness that communicated their love for us.
Third, Communicating with People Going through a Difficult Time Can Mean a Lot
With modern means of communication such as text messaging, we can do things each week to let a friend or fellow Christian know that we are thinking of and praying for them. You could call them with just a few brief words of encouragement expressing your love and prayer support. And, of course, you could stop by their home or hospital room to visit and pray with them.
Finally, and Most Importantly, Upholding Someone in Prayer before the Throne of Grace Cannot Be Overstated
James again tells us that the, “Effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much” (James 5:16). To be an intercessor for others to the Lord is a great privilege and honor.
The need to minister to the hurting is great. As we look around our churches and families, we see hurting people everywhere. While we can’t do everything, we can all do something to show the love of Christ through our lives to those who are hurting. Someone once said, “We are never so much like Christ as when we serve.” Who can you help and minister to today?