How to Help a Wounded Person

How to Help a Wounded Person
By Cary Schmidt (published by permission)

One of the most difficult circumstances of life and ministry is to try to help someone who has been deeply hurt. These are hard moments. More than anything, you want to take away the hurt, undo the pain, and fix the problem. But it’s just not that easy. Woundedness—regardless of how it occurred—requires time and God’s grace in order to heal.

Here are a few thoughts (not exhaustive by any means) that you might be able to place in your tool box to encourage and help those who are wounded.

First—Teach through Hebrews 12. Much of life’s pain is not disciplinary in nature—but all of it is allowed of God and is intended to be used by Him to produce good in our lives (Romans 8:28). Hebrews 12 deals powerfully with how Christians should respond to wounds and chastening—by claiming God’s grace and turning away from bitterness. As I study this passage it seems that chastening can be both disciplinary and nurturing in nature. In other words, it’s not always about discipline, but it is always difficult and painful.

Second—Emphasize God’s Desire to Heal. (vs. 13) The focus of Hebrews 12 is the peaceable fruit—the outcome of grace. Help the hurting person find hope in looking forward. In time, God’s grace can work all things to our eventual profit. Satan wants the hurting to only focus on the past—the hurt. After all, it’s difficult to imagine how the abuse of another can produce something good in me! God calls His child to “lift up the hands which hang down.” He offers hope in what is yet to come by His grace.

Third—Call the Hurting to Pursue Peace with All Men. (v. 14) For God’s healing, the wounded must have a right heart toward the relationships of life—even the broken ones. This is a bit different for each situation, and forgiveness is always a journey—a process of forgiving over and over again. But one condition of God’s healing is that the hurting must have an agenda of peace not revenge or resentment.

Fourth—Teach the Hurting to Repeatedly Claim Grace. (vs. 15-16) Every hurt brings a spiritual fork in the road—one path leads to grace and the other to bitterness. This passage reveals that bitterness defiles but grace heals. And grace is a choice—a diligent decision. In other words, the default path is bitterness. The grace path must be claimed by “looking diligently”—carefully determining not to miss it.

Fifth—Emphasize the Patience Required for Recovery. (Hebrews 10:36, 12:1, and James 1:3) People often expect instant recovery. But the simple truth is—a problem that took 5 or 10 or even 20 years to create doesn’t just go away in one counseling session or even one week. The reality—God’s grace is a process born out of intimacy with Him. By God’s design, He wants the wounded to find Him and to walk personally with Him, gradually experiencing the daily renewing, restoring power of His presence. Instant healing is not conducive to intimacy. God heals as we abide.

Some years ago I gave a short list to a hurting young man and asked him to keep it and read or pray it every day as a part of his walk with God and his daily decision to claim grace. He did. And he grew! God’s healing has been evident in his life for several years now. Not long ago, he opened his wallet, pulled this little list out, and said, “Remember this?” We both smiled, and I thanked God for His awesome grace. Here’s the little list:

1.I’m saved
2.I am highly valuable, wanted and important to God
3.God has a great plan for my future
4.God will give me strength for today if I ask for it
5.I will honor God and my authorities today
6.God, please be my best friend today
7.God, please give me healing and grace today

Not exactly impressive. Not really rocket science. But maybe it’s a tool you can use to encourage someone else to find God’s healing through His grace! What passages or tools do you find helpful in ministering to wounded people? (Post a comment below. And consider sharing this article with someone who could be encouraged by it.)


Andrew Schank said...

WOW! Powerful post. Thanks for sharing this. I definitely will use that list. Keep up the great work!

JTR said...

I'm very thankful that our church has been a place of healing and love for our family in our time of need. I don't think many Christians (especially young-in-the-Lord ones) realize how many people have been deeply hurt. Not that it negates their accountability, but I believe that most Christian who no longer attend church have been deeply wounded, and the hurt was not dealt with in the right way. A lot of times IFBs can be guilty of not restoring each other in the spirit of meekness, especially when we think the other person should already know better, or we have an elevated idea of our position in Christ vs. theirs. Maybe we're just tired of working with them over and over on the same lesson - but God is so patient with us.

The church is just a hospital for the sin-sick, saved and unsaved...sin still takes it's painful toll. There is no chastening we need to do that the Lord can not do without us, and we tend to give ourselves a lot more leeway to get things right than we give others. It's the old mote in the eye bit. Church should be our sanctuary, where we can come to heal our wounds and get ready to gear up and get back into the battle.

I don't know where we would have been without Pastor Rick, but I do know he has shown us a lot of love and compassion when we were beating ourselves up more than any "good meaning helpful Chirstian" (ie: Job's friends) could ever beat us up. What we needed and got, was a helping hand, not an accusing finger.

Andrew Schank said...

JTR... AMEN! You are right. Unfortunately, IFB's are guilty of shooting our own wounded. This post has inspired me to work on this subject on our blog in coming days -

Again, this post encouraged me this morning! Praise The Lord!

Jerry Bouey said...

Great post. At the Gospel Mission where I work we covered the book of James. On Monday, I just preached on James 5:14-20 (plus, including other related passages) about chastisement of the believer, then capped off with several verses about how to avoid chastisement (judge our sin and repent or it - 1 Corinthians 11:31-32), and how to respond when we are chastised (Hebrews 12:10-11). This is a good follow up to that subject.

Andrew Schank said...

Thanks! God's word is wonderful... isn't it? It has the answers for everything.

If there is any way I can help you, then just let me know! Thanks for sharing those passages you spoke about!