How Can I Help? – Adam Orr

How Can I Help? – Adam Orr

Understanding that discouragement to one degree or another is not a matter of ‘if’ but ‘when’ in the lives of Christians or those outside of Christ, what can we do to help one another? As a foundation upon which to build, let us first be clear that it is not optional whether we help one another through times of discouragement. Paul stated clearly in Galatians 6:2, “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” When we see a brother or sister hurting and experiencing times of discouragement in their lives, as members of the family of God, we must do what we can to help bear their burden. Please consider ways the Bible says this can be accomplished.

Pray for them specifically

Too often, prayer becomes the ‘last resort.’ We think things like, “I’ve tried everything else, so now I’ll pray.” Prayer is the thread that runs from the beginning to the end of loved ones who are hurting. The last recorded words of Jesus before leaving the upper room with the disciples are His words in prayer to His Father. With an understanding that discouragement was soon to come, He prayed for them specifically,

But I come to You, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have My joy fulfilled in themselves. I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one (John 17:13-15).

Jesus knew that times of discouragement would come in their lives because they were not of the world, and He prayed for them specifically to the Father. Pray early and often for the discouraged.

Be Present

How can we bear another’s burdens if we are not present? Discouragement can lead to depression very easily when one feels isolated and alone. When you consider the time that Jesus walked on this earth and wore human flesh, how much time do you think Jesus spent alone? Certainly, there were times He would go off by Himself, but Jesus spent the vast majority of His time with others. Jesus spent time with people and He loved people and showed compassion to people who were hurting. Jesus touched the untouchable (Luke 5:13), healed the tormented (Mark 5:1-20), and went into homes ravaged with sorrow (Mark 5:22-43). We help the discouraged with a faith that does not say, “Be warmed and filled” (Jas. 2:16), but follows the example of Jesus in being present in the lives of the discouraged. Make a personal visit, make a personal phone call, or write a personal card. Step out of your comfort zone and be present!

Help them to Jesus

If Jesus says, “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world,” (John 16:33) – then we need to help others find their peace in Jesus. Jesus is the Prince of peace (Isa. 9:6) and the only source of peace between man and God (Eph. 2:14). Do you want to help the discouraged to find peace? Help them to Jesus! For those who are not Christians, show them the compassion of Jesus in being present and having the goal of studying the Bible with them. True peace is only found in Jesus, so help them to see how that is possible in opening the Bible with them. For those who are Christians, consider passages that are found in other articles of this same publication. Help them to remember that Jesus promises to be near to each one of us. Paul was experiencing a time of discouragement as he was in prison and writing that his death seemed imminent. He said that at his trial, no one stood with him, but the Lord stood with him and provided him with strength (2 Tim. 4:17). In the next verse (4:18), Paul wrote, “And the Lord will deliver me from every evil work and preserve me for His heavenly kingdom. To Him be glory forever and ever. Amen!” If you truly want to help one going through a time of discouragement, have one goal in mind as you pray, and are present – help them to Jesus!