6 Ways to Help Friends and Family in Distress

Consider these steps when you want to reach out and help loved ones in difficult situations.

Posted in , Nov 21, 2016

6 ways to help friends and family in need

Right now I have several friends who are dealing with some major setbacks–from broken hearts to financial strain to health nightmares. My first instinct is to immediately spring into action and come to their aid. But I’ve discovered from my own difficult times that sometimes it’s better to pause and think first. Then I can find the best plan to help:

1)  Pray before doing anything.
I ask God to give me wisdom to know what to do or what to say—and to keep me from saying or doing the wrong thing.

2)  Ask first.
Everyone responds differently to situations. When my husband was diagnosed with cancer a number of years ago, I didn’t feel like talking about it for the first few weeks other than with a few close friends. So now I talk to a loved one of the person who I know is hurting and I say, “Is now a good time to call or to visit or should I wait?”

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3)  Then respond.
If they say that calls or visits would be welcome, do it. A simple hug or just holding someone’s hand can bring vast comfort.

4)  A simple text or card can help.
I try to send a simple message, “I love you and I’m praying for you. I’m just a phone call away if you need anything. And if you need a safe place to vent or let off steam, I’m available and will keep everything just between the two of us.”

5)  Look for practical ways to assist.
A sick or injured parent with children at home will need help with laundry, cleaning and meals. An elderly friend might need help with transportation for doctor visits or they’d be blessed by meals they could pull from the freezer. A visit to shut-ins will break up the drudgery of a lonely day. A single mom might need help with car maintenance or childcare. Simply taking her child for an outing or helping to assemble Christmas gifts like bicycles can relieve some of her stress.

6)  Preserve their pride.
I try to be discreet if I’m giving money to folks by tucking it in a gift that they’ll open when I’m gone, or by placing it somewhere where they’ll find it later.

But the best thing we can do for friends and loved ones is to pray for them. That’s where true power comes in—because when we don’t know what to do or say to comfort them, God does.

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