There is a formula I’ve often taught clients to help them communicate with loved ones in times of need. When someone is telling them about their horrible day, I teach to say, “You feel _______, because …” Of course, you need to fill in the blanks accurately. This “formula” is actually one counselors are trained to use in the beginning stages of therapy. It communicates and confirms the client is being heard and understood, before any problem solving can take place. You’d be surprised how this communication technique, alone, can impact the client to the point they need nothing else. Sometimes a person just wants to be heard. And sometimes they just want confirmation that what they are feeling is normal and they are not crazy.
And in some ways, you have entered into their pain. It’s almost like jumping into the chasm with a person who has fallen in, to keep them company until the ladder comes to get them out.
That’s what Jesus did.
He entered into our chasm, felt the pain, isolation, and ridicule of this world, all before giving us the means to be extracted from it. Even now he sits with us daily as we wait for Jacob’s ladder, and helps us feel safe in the cold, dark hole.So, as we consider how to help someone in pain and want to be like Jesus, I suggest, before we fall to platitudes and what-to-dos, we step back, listen, understand, communicate that understanding, and sometimes just be there for them. Then we will model the life of our Savior.