Friday, October 26, 2012

Helping Hurting Friends (Part 1)

Last week I got the chance to teach a breakout session at the Rescue Conference here in Silicon Valley. The topic was, "Helping Hurting Friends: Dealing with addiction, depression, anger, suicide, and hopelessness." I wasn't sure if the topic was one that many people would want to listen to, but to my surprise, the Main Auditorium was pretty full. The whole experience reminded me of how many people out there are hurting, and also how many are trying to help a friend who is hurting.
Here were some of the thoughts I shared:

1. Jesus came for the sick, hurting, and broken.
Luke 4:18-19 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free, and that the time of the Lord’s favor has come.”

Luke 4:30 But the Pharisees and their teachers of religious law complained bitterly to Jesus’ disciples, “Why do you eat and drink with such scum?” Jesus answered them, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do.  I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners and need to repent.”

2. Jesus modeled for us the way to help them.
He healed the sick, restored life for the broken, released the addicted and bound up, gave hope to the oppressed, and freed up the demon possessed

3. Jesus commissioned His followers to do the same.
John 14:12 “I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father.”

When someone hurts, God usually wants to do one or more of these below.  One of the first steps to helping a hurting friend is discerning what God is trying to do in their lives, since He often wants to use us in the process of helping them.
  1. Heal them
  2. Deliver them
  3. Teach them something (dependency, intimacy…)
  4. Save them
  5. Use them for a purpose
(8:4) Man with leprosy – SICK / heal, use them
(8:5-13) Roman officer – SICK / heal, teach them (faith)
(8:14-17) Many healed – SICK / healed
(8:23-33) Boat in storm – FEAR & PANICK / deliver, teach them (His Character)
(8:28-34) Demon possessed men – TORMENTED & VIOLENT / deliver them
(9:2) Paralyzed man – DISABILITY – save (forgive), teach them
(9:18) A heart broken father – GRIEVING & DEPRESSED – heal, bring hope

What is God up to in our hurting friend's life?  Make yourself available to God to be the vehicle of transformation in their lives.  He can use you to heal, deliver, teach, save, or help them see how their pain can be used for something good.


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