When people we care about are going through painful circumstances sometimes it's hard to know how to help. The biblical counselors at Xenos offer the following advice.
Bev DeLashmutt says when we have a friend who is hurting and we can't relate to their pain that 2 Corinthians 1: 3-4 is a good place to start. It states that, "...the God of ALL comfort who comforts us in ALL our afflictions so that we may comfort those who are in ANY affliction..." Bev said she has learned from this verse that it is more important to teach someone how to receive God's comfort than be able to relate to their experience. She tells them the many ways that God has comforted her and assures them that God wants to give comfort in their time of need also.
When a friend opens up to you and is vulnerable with their hurt, it's meaningful to let them know that you appreciate their sharing. "Thank you for entrusting this hurt to me. That's painful. I love you." It can be that simple says Connie Rue. Chris Risley suggests asking specific questions. "They might not even know what to ask for so when offering help ask specific questions like, 'Do you need food or babysitting this week?' Also you can ask what you can pray for. And keep offering - most help drops off after the first few weeks." Letting them know you are available during this difficult time lets them know you care.