Call to Care: Simple and Profound
Today’s post is from Concordia Chaplain Rev. Roger Nuerge and is part 20 of the “Call to Care” series. Concordia’s Chaplaincy Department actively contributes to our residents’ well being.
In his book “Don’t Sing Songs to a Heavy Heart,” about how to relate to those who are suffering, Dr. Kenneth Haugk shares a number of ways for relating to suffering people that build them up rather than tear them down. Caring for suffering people can be challenging. It’s not always easy, but it is possible.
In the chapter “Simple and Profound,” Dr. Haugk describes seven caring actions that, based on his research, are “sure winners.” These actions in and of themselves are very simple, but when they are paired with relating to someone at the right time, can have a profound effect on people who are hurting. Let’s look at two of the seven caring actions.
- Martin Luther said the first rule in prayer is, “Don’t lie to God.” The second rule is like it: Don’t lie to the person you promise to pray for. If you say you are going to pray for someone, make sure to do it.
People find great comfort when they know others are praying for them.
- Your sincerity will not be questioned when you are specific about how and when you will pray for others.
- Be careful to make sure that talking about prayer or praying with a hurting person is appropriate. A person angry at God may not want you to pray. You can pray for them privately, however. That’s always appropriate.
- Listening is always important in praying for others. Prayer without listening is not always helpful. People are always more open to prayer when they feel they have been heard.
- When you determine that praying for another is appropriate, it can be reassuring to ask the person what they would like you to pray for. When they hear you mention their needs, they will feel that they have been heard, and are cared for.
- Good caring and relating start with being there for the other person. It sounds simple, but it is an important act of caring. If you catch yourself saying, “I should visit so-and so” or, “I should give so-and-so a call,” just take the initiative and do it.
- Be careful, however, not to add to a hurting person’s burden by saying something like, “Let’s have lunch sometime.” That leaves the initiative with the other person who has all they can do to get through their days. You take the first step and say, “Let’s do lunch sometime next week, if you can,” and suggest some times.
- Suffering people appreciate these simple acts of showing up and being there for them. They value your effort to take time from your pain-free day to share in their pain. It tells the other person that their pain is important to you and that you consider it to be real and significant.
Look for more “sure winners” next time.
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