Four Ways to Help Others Heal

Friday, October 30, 2015

Healing others? In reality, none of us can truly heal another human being. God is the great Healer. We can only walk with those that are hurting joining them on their journey. We can give support, but we can't force another person into a state of restoration. That is between him/her and God.

There are a few things that can be done though as your travel with a friend or family member through the process of healing. Here are some ideas:

Listen. One of the best things you can do is just listen. You aren't going to understand everything about the hurt the other person is experiencing. Giving advice may backfire {Although it is ok to give advice if they ask for it.}. By listening and asking clarifying questions you can do a world of good. Sometimes a hurting person needs to verbally process what is going on in his or her heart. By speaking outloud what is hidden deep within the heart heals.

Acknowledge the pain. Even if you don't understand it all, acknowledge that what he or she went through is painful. Saying that it was no big deal may create more hurt and a need for deeper healing. By affirming a person's pain, you give them permission to accept that what did happen hurts deeply. That permission to feel the hurt is ironically the very thing that heals.

Realize that what looks like an overreaction may be a step towards healing. Hurting people are going to overreact to circumstances especially the ones that trigger emotions related to their loss. Even though their reaction may seem way out of line realize that there are layers of pain underneath the surface that are the cause. Also, the overreaction can actually help with healing if it allows the person to bring to the surface the pain so that it can be dealt with. {NOTE: Remember that hurting people hurt people. It is ok to set a boundary with a person in pain if their reaction is hurtful to others. Confront them in love.}

Give words of love and encouragement. Some of the biggest healing experiences for me have been affirming words. Tell them they are loved. It is the one big message they will need to hear over and over again. It doesn't need to be fancy. Simple words can soothe a soul like these sentences that were texted to me awhile back, "If it means anything to you, know that I think the world of you. You are a wonderful person. Love you!"

Healing is a long journey. Walk with them, listen, and love. You never know how God may use your presence in someone's life to heal the hurt.

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