Compassion: 10 Ways to Help People in Crisis
1. Be there! Even better than sound advice or financial aid is the physical presence of someone who is genuinely concerned.
2. Listen! It’s important that people in crisis are able to verbalize their story. It helps them process the situation – mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Encourage delaying any non-essential decisions until crisis has passed … There is one who speaks rashly like the thrusts of a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. ~ Proverbs 12:18.
3. Don’t take any rash statements or harsh words too seriously. People in crisis often vent emotional stress in the most convenient direction. Don’t react, respond in love … Love is patient, love is kind. ~1 Corinthians 13:4
4. Know when to back off! Often, well-intentioned expressions of concern can cross emotional and practical boundaries. Watch for subtle signals that it may be time to give the person in crisis some space … The plans of the heart belong to man, But the answer of the tongue is from the Lord. ~Proverbs 16:1
5. Pray and alert others to pray too! In addition to the supernatural power of prayer, people in crisis often find great comfort in knowing that they’re being prayed for … pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much. ~James 5:16
6. Find practical ways, however small, to help the person in crisis maintain routine functions. Simple things like bringing meals, doing laundry, taking the kids to soccer practice, etc. relieve enormous pressure during difficult times … And do not neglect doing good and sharing; for with such sacrifices God is pleased. ~Hebrews 13:16
7. Help the person in crisis maintain a realistic perspective. People in crisis are often overwhelmed by their situation. Remind them of life’s truly important issues and help them weigh their situation in the light of a realistic, eternal perspective.
8. Link them with helpful resources. People in crisis often don’t think clearly. Be an objective third party who can point to crisis agencies, clergy or other assistance.
9. Don’t think you’re not needed just because the crisis has passed. Crisis situations often have long-term consequences. Make yourself available for continuing care and concern.
10. What would Jesus do? Jesus encountered people in crisis regularly. Examine Scripture to glean wisdom from His example.