Monday, November 16, 2009

Comfort Your Hurting Friend

A suicidal person’s primary need in the midst of emotional pain and loneliness is comfort. Jesus said, "Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted" (Matthew 5:4). Mourning is the process of getting the inner hurt out. As the person admits how sad he feels, try to share in that pain too. According to Jesus' words, when you comfort a friend, they are "blessed." Comfort is God's design for blessing those who hurt and for beginning to heal the deep pain of being alone and feeling hopeless.

In the midst of trouble, anxiety and thoughts of suicide, your friend's greatest comfort will come when you share his or her hurt and sorrow. One major way God shares His comfort with others is through us. The apostle Paul wrote, "God ... comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God" (2 Cor. 1:3-4). Comfort is not a "pep talk" urging your friend to hang in there, to tough it out, or to hold it together. Comfort is not an attempt to explain why things happen to people. Comfort is not a bunch of positive words about God being in control and everything being okay. All of these things may be good and useful in time, but they do not fill the primary need for comfort.

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