How Do I Help a Friend Who's in Shock?
Galatians 6:2 “Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ.”
What is the law of Christ? Love your neighbor as yourself. Anytime you help somebody in pain, you help somebody in shock, you are loving your neighbor as yourself.
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 stand on the sidelines. You don’t wait for an invitation. I know when you see somebody in pain they’ve lost their job, they just discovered they’ve got an illness, a loved one passed away, somebody just asked for a divorce. A lot of times I 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. You just show 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 in
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.”
Those are true friends. When they heard their friend was in shock, that he’d lost it all, they heard about his troubles, it says they set out. They didn’t wait for an invitation.
2. I can SHARE their pain.
Job 2:12-13 “When they saw Job from a distance, 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, big time! We are feeling it with you. 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, [That’s a friend. Have you ever sat with anybody a day without saying a word? I doubt it. They sat seven days and seven nights and nobody said a word to him] for they saw that his suffering was too great for words.”
The greater the grief the fewer words needed.
The greater the grief the fewer words needed. You’re going to need to use this when people are in pain around you. If your friend is hit with deep pain, you just need to be there. It is the ministry of presence. The Bible says “Weep with those who weep.” What that means is… people, when they are in this phase [this is just one of the six phases] they don’t need words; they need tears.
3. I can take the INITIATIVE.
When you have a friend who’s in shock, you take the initiative. The Bible says in
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 they just got fired, they just got a bad report from the doctor’s office – don’t say “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. Don’t say, “Call me if you need anything.”
And by the way, don’t even say, “How can I help?” Because when somebody’s in shock, they haven’t the slightest idea how you can help. When somebody’s in shock they are numb.
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. You make the suggestion. Does that make sense? You say, “I’d like to do this for you. Can I do this for you? I’m going to the store. Whatever you need.”