How to help the brokenhearted

Last week was a difficult one. I felt surrounded by broken hearts. Illness, breakups, loss, suffering. So much pain around me, and to a lesser extent I had my own pain to work through. I sympathized with those friends and my church family and pondered the fact that all of this is caused by the cancer of sin in this world. All of the tears and pain can be traced back to one rebellious act in the garden. This was weighing heavy on my mind Sunday.

The wounded hearts in my own church were hurting so badly that my pastor switched the text he intended to preach from Hebrews to 1 Peter. It was a good sermon that reminded us there is hope, but amid the pain a sermon isn’t always the solution.

So what can we do to help those who are grieving … wounded and raw from the pain inflicted by life? I confess that I often struggle to know how to help in these circumstances. I always wish I could fix things, but when someone has lost a loved one or a relationship there isn’t a fix. There is real loss. I agonize, pen in hand trying to put words to paper on a card because words seem so inadequate. I always wish I could just wrap my arms around the person and hold them for as long as they need me to, but sometimes distance prevents it.

That’s why I so appreciated this post by goings, graces who has recently suffered a devastating loss. I was directed to her website by Tim Challies’ blog, and was touched by her words about “what to say when there is nothing to say.” She has plenty of advice for those of us who want to show our love to family, friends and neighbors when they are hurting. Read it and go comfort the hurting.

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