It begins with a message asking for prayer, then it’s remembering a difficult situation that someone you know is walking through that you learned about late last night. It gets worst as you are talking on the phone and the person on the other end says, “how is so and so doing?” Only to eventually find out about the heartache that was dumped on your friend.
There are times in ministry when this very example is played out. Emotions start rolling in as you think through all the difficulties that you are to be dealing with. Counseling your loved ones through the pain that they are experiencing. You begin feeling the weight of the burdens that are ripping through people’s lives that they come crashing down on you. Your heart is burdened, pained, and overwhelmed. What do you do?
It is at the moment when you feel the weight of the pain that they are going through that you must remember that people need Jesus, but even more, you do. When being a person who is counseling/helping others, either pastoral or as a small group leader, we must remember that we desperately need the gospel. We need the gospel to comfort our broken hearts as we care about our loved ones. We need the gospel to not go to despair or anger. We need the gospel to remember the value of Christ’s wisdom as he calls us to obedience in every situation. To guide and direct people to Jesus.
Psalm 46:1 God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
So, what do I do as people that I love are being crushed? I go to the Lord. Jesus is the only one who can heal, give wisdom, give perspective, work things out for eternal purposes. Bad news must be held in the proper position. It may be emotionally devastating, but what is the level of devastation that it possesses in your life or the life of the one that you are counseling?
First, let us look at some basic parameters of evaluation, these are to just help with organizing your thoughts and the needs of the person you are helping. One is little to no life change. Five is that this problem alters a lot but not most. Ten being all areas of life are impacted and nothing is the same. Ten would be a loss of a husband or a child. A five would be a loss of a job with the potential of finding another. One would be a person who gossips about you that you are not directly connected with.
Every one of these scenarios hurt. We must remember that our emotions can be deceiving. A person can feel enraged that someone gossiped about them but at the end of the day, is it worth going crazy over something that has no weight in my life? I would contend we often spend too much emotional energy on things that have little to no weight. For the things that have significant weight, we need to place them in the right category. We need to first seek the Lord, then connect them to places to find help. For the weightier matters in life, we need biblical counseling from a pastor or someone trained in biblical counseling. Biblical counseling needs to come from a source that loves and trusts that Jesus can help us move the dial on progressing in Christ. For lighter matters, we can take to someone in our small group or a Bible study leader. For those things with almost no weight, we take those to a friend, who is a Christian.
We need to warn those going through a crisis to be careful who you take advice from. Do not let someone speak into eternal things when they themselves are not eternally minded. That would take out counsel from the lost and spiritually immature when it comes to important issues and burdens that I am dealing with.
As I take those hurting, I am looking to find them help but most of all I go to the Lord in prayer, interceding for these burdened souls. I go to the Scriptures to find hope and help to guide my heart and to direct their paths. I go to the Lord, and I get help from those who do the same. These processes help me when dealing with being overwhelmed with bad news.