How To Help In Suffering & Depression

Bible Text: "To him who is afflicted, kindness should be shown by his friend, even though he forsakes the fear of the Almighty." Job 6:4.

Be compassionate

Be compassionate!

This is an interesting Bible verse. What did Job want to say?

This statement was the result of his reaction to the overwhelming physical pain and to the misunderstandings and accusations that his friends treated him with. What he meant was that anybody who goes through a trial deserves compassion. Even if he is not a saint.

I remember a lady who was dying of cancer. She had a good spirit and she even tried to keep up her sense of humor. At times she had bad pains and the fact that she had to stay in bed most of the time was pretty hard on her. She used to be a very active person and church member. The articles she wrote for church magazines were encouraging and uplifting. It was her turn now to receive comfort and support. Unfortunately, not many where willing or able to offer it. She did get some help, but her friends did not understand her suffering. Overwhelmed by pain, she felt depressed and needed encouragement. Instead, she received accusations and lack of understanding. She felt she was visited by Job's friends. All she wanted was a little bit of understanding.

We can be well intended, yet tactless and ignorant toward somebody's suffering. There is a barrier here: we are not able to really understand somebody who goes through a problem we never experienced. Dr. William Tierney, who survived lung cancer and now works with patients with cancer, said: "I thought I was attuned to how patients felt. It turned out I didn't know a thing about cancer and didn't know how it affected patients. If you haven't had it, you don't get it." After he battled lung cancer he said he learned some very valuable lessons: "You have to listen, observe and ask more. "Where do I fit into the patient's story and needs? What can I satisfy, what can I not?" - These are questions to ask myself."

More often than not, a suffering person needs more than: "I will pray for you". While God is the beginning and the end of every solution, we need to inform ourselves and learn about our neighbours' problems. We all have dear friends with various problems. A doctor couldn't help without the knowledge he receives in school. We cannot help (emotionally, spiritually) either unless we deal with our lack of sympathy and ignorance.

May God and our love for our neighbors motivate us to learn more and enable us to really help those who need us in their trials.

Everybody deserves compassion.


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