What You Should Say and Not Say to Hurting People – Part 1

Pastor Daron CrossLife Blog

“Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people” (Matthew 4:23).

I know. It’s awkward. You’re not sure what to say when …

  • your coworker tells you that her mother is being admitted to hospice care
  • your new neighbor introduces himself as a veteran with PTSD
  • you know the domination and abuse your dad dished out to you and your siblings, and one of them has been in and out of addiction treatment
  • close friends took their family on a mission trip, one of their children was abducted and they had to flee the country

People are hurting

In a COVID world, mental distress has skyrocketed by 700% and calls to the National Suicide Hotline have increased by 600%. Every 1.6 seconds, someone attempts suicide [sources cited below].

Usually, if we hear about a suicide attempt, we ask ourselves what we could have done to help. And usually, we shrug our shoulders, a bit unsure. And we move on.

What would you say if a coworker confessed to you that they tried to take their own life a month ago? 

They open up to you for some reason, and reveal their deep struggle with a traumatic event from childhood. Nightmares. Circumstances that trigger anxiety. The pain is crippling and won’t go away. 

They don’t know if they can cover their shift for the week, and they might need help.

What don’t you say?

First, here is what not to say. 

  • “It’ll be okay.”
  • “Just get over it.”
  • “You mean you can’t come to work because of that?”
  • “Try going to the chiropractor.”

Understand this: different people are going to respond in different ways to the same traumatic event. Surviving a terrible car accident, for example. Some people deal with it and go on without concern. Others can’t shed the memories of impact, the physical pain, the emotional distress and the financial loss. 

Neither is right or wrong. Each person’s individual makeup will cause their own unique response. 

Notice how the Bible summarizes Jesus’ response to the hurting. He showed up. He entered our world. He spent time with them. He saw them, cared for them, listened to them. And he preached good news to them. 

And, of course, he healed them. What kind of people? Those with “every disease and sickness.” 

Here is the best news. Some of you reading this are hurting. Some of you reading this may have attempted suicide. Some of you reading this are part of the statistic of growing mental distress during a pandemic.

Jesus comes to you and does what he did long ago. Trust him. Love him. Receive his help and healing.

PRAYER: Dear Jesus, you are my healer and Savior. Your good news is life saving and changing. Have mercy on me, so that I can have mercy on others. Look with patience and grace on all who are hurting, and help me help them. Amen.

FURTHER MEDITATION: There is an impactful, loving and truth-filled video devotion series going on this week. Follow it starting here.