Everyone goes through rough patches in life. Whether the hard time is caused by personal choices or unexpected circumstances, every one of us will have to face life challenges that we must overcome. Just as we want those we love to have compassion for us, we should learn to have compassion for others. If you know someone who is facing life challenges, there are several ways to help your friend through a hard time.
Think back to the last time you went through a challenging time in your life. How did you feel? What did you need most? What helped you to overcome? The answers to those questions will most likely give you insight into how you should help your friend. The best way to be a good friend to someone is to treat them as you would want to be treated (Luke 6:31).
Being a good friend means giving unconditional love. During their hard time, your friend may share with you hard truths, but it shouldn’t change how you view them. God’s grace is the perfect example of how He loves us even when we don’t deserve it. In fact, the bible tells us that there isn’t anything that we can do that will cause God to stop loving us (Romans 8:38-39). God loves your friend, no matter what they have done or are currently going through. Love covers a multitude of sin (1 Peter 4:8), and God wants you to love others with the same love and grace He has extended to you.
As Christians, many times our first instant to someone who is going through a hard time is to respond “I will pray for you.” Prayer is an excellent way to help and intercede for anyone, but most circumstances require action in addition to prayer. One way to help your friend through a hard time is to perform acts of service while they endure through this challenging time. You may offer to:
- walk their dog
- give a job recommendation
- refer a pastor or counselor for advice
- pay their bill
- run errands
- invite them to a restaurant for dinner and fellowship
There are many ways to help your friend through a hard time. Asses the situation then pray and ask God how He wants you to help. Don’t feel pressured to solve your friend’s problem, but instead, be intentional about helping them to make it through this hard time. As you help your friend, God is watching you. Don’t expect your friend to pay you back for your help, but instead wait on God to bless you in return for all you have done.
5 Ways to Help Your Friend Through a Hard Time
1. Be present. Every time I have been through a challenging time in my life, the thing I have needed most is just someone to be there for me. Don’t underestimate the power of just being present for your friend. Show up for them by listening intently without judgment. If she opens up and shares her thoughts, feelings, or circumstances, use that information to pray and intercede for her.
2. Love her the way she needs to be loved. Everyone’s personal patterns, behaviors, and needs are different. Know your friend, and act accordingly. Does your friend more introverted and like to be alone during hard times? Give her space to process her thoughts, but give her a call or send a text message to let her know you are thinking of her. Does your friend need a hug? Offer to come over with pizza, snacks, and have a movie night.
3. Don’t try to relate when you can’t. There is a difference between sympathy and empathy. Sympathy is when you share the feelings of another because you have gone through a similar situation, while empathy is when you understand the feelings of another but have not personally been through their particular situation. While your friend is going through a hard time, they may not need someone to relate to as much as they need a shoulder to lean on. Focus on being present instead of trying to relate.
4. Don’t offer advice unless asked for it. Sometimes being a good friend means listening instead of talking. Hard times can make people feel more vulnerable, and you don’t want to make your friend feel worse than she already does. If she asks for your advice, share your help with love and compassion. Be patient with your friend, and remember to treat her the way you would want to be treated.
5. Encourage her. To help your friend through a hard time, always have a kind, positive word to share. Your words have power, so speak life into your friend (Proverbs 16:24). If she is a Christian, remind her of what God’s Word says about her.