How to Help a Friend in Shock


The Bible commands us, if we’re followers of Jesus Christ, to help people in pain, to help those who are in shock, to help people who are going through a difficult time. So, how do you help a friend in shock?  

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

How do I help a friend who’s in shock?

1. I can SHOW up.  

That’s the first thing you do. You just show up. You don’t wait for an invitation. 

I know when you see somebody who has lost their job, just discovered they’ve got breast cancer, a loved one died, somebody just asked for a divorce, a lot of times we don’t know what to say.

Let me tell you something: You don’t have to say anything. In fact it would be better if you just show up and shut up. That’s the ministry of presence.

The Ministry of Presence: Show up and Shut up.

You remember the story of Job, how he lost everything in one day. He lost his health, he lost his wealth and he lost his entire family to a group of terrorists. Here’s what happened after:

Job 2:11 “When three of Job’s friends heard of the tragedy he had suffered, they got together and traveled from their homes to comfort and console him.”  

That’s true friends. They didn’t wait for an invitation.

2. I can SHARE their pain.

This is the second thing that Job’s friends did.

Job 2:12-13 “When they saw Job from a distance, [remember they’re coming to see him] they scarcely recognized him. Wailing loudly, [They hadn’t even got to him yet.  They just see him from a far distance and they’re already crying.  They began to weep aloud] they tore their robes and threw dust into the air over their heads to show their grief. [That’s a Middle Eastern custom that says, “We’re in this with you buddy. We feel your pain.” They tore their robes, sprinkled dust on their heads.] 13 Then they sat on the ground with him for seven days and nights. No one said a word to Job, for they saw that his suffering was too great for words.”

The greater the grief the fewer words needed.  

You’re going to need to use this when people are in pain around you. The greater the grief the fewer words needed.

3. I can take the INITIATIVE.

When you have a friend who’s in shock, you take the initiative.

Proverbs 3:27 “Do not withhold good from those who deserve it when it’s in your power to help them.”

Don’t withhold good means, you do anything needed. It could mean run an errand, offer to babysit, bring a meal, mow the lawn – do good means any practical thing you can do.

Let me tell you what not to do. Don’t say to somebody who had just gone through a major loss or difficulty, “Call me if you need anything.” Because now you’ve put it on them. They’ve got to work to get your help. “Call me…” You’re not taking the initiative.  You’re forcing them to take the initiative. My advice: don’t even say, “How can I help?” Because when somebody’s in shock, they haven’t the slightest idea how you can help.

What you want to say to these people... you give them options. Say, “I want to help. I’d like to bring you dinner – Wednesday or Thursday?” Then they have a choice. You’re not saying, “Can I do anything for you?” Just say, “I’d like to bring you dinner. Would Wednesday or Thursday work best?” You can call them and say, “I want to help. I’m going to the store, can I pick up something for you?” That’s practical.

God wants us to learn how to take shock and turn it into service. You can be somebody else’s saving grace. You can be somebody else’s hope.


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