As a prayer minister, I have had many clients come for help over the years struggling with depression, anxiety and thoughts of suicide. These clients do not fit into one category. They do not have a unique “look” that causes them to stand out in a crowd. I have seen males and females alike. Rich and poor. All sizes and ages. People in their late 50s, and people as young as 8 years old. These are people all around us in our schools, churches, workplace, and communities. The most important thing that I do with each one is listen, not just with my mind but with my heart. I help them identify the deeper wounds that are causing their pain. And I walk with them toward life; not by preaching at them, or telling them to get over it, but by loving them, being present, and providing a safe place to look into those wounds without judgment. It is from that place that we invite Jesus to shine His light of Truth. Ultimately, I cannot heal their hearts, but Jesus can. And He does.
What about those who do not directly ask for help? Can we make a difference? There is not a one size fits all approach to inner healing. However, there is one thing in common with all those who are struggling with thoughts of suicide. They have unresolved heart wounds – trauma, fear, shame, grief, or other forms of loss that they have not had time or a safe place to resolve. Many people who are struggling with pain on the inside will begin to turn from life by withdrawing from activities and friendships they once enjoyed. The more they withdraw and push people away, the more isolated they become from others, and the more likely they will give in to the negative thoughts and emotions that are tormenting them.
Many people who are hurting feel they are alone; that no one really understands, sees them, or cares. You can make a difference by being that person. Live daily with an awareness of those around you and how they are responding to life. Ask Holy Spirit to lead you to those in your day to encounter those who need an encouraging smile, a kind word, or a prayer. It’s not our job to fix people. But as Christ-followers we bring the peace and love of Jesus with us. We will not argue, debate, criticize, or condemn people to life in Jesus, but with Christ, we can love them to life. Let’s join together to make a difference.
Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way, you will fulfill the law of Christ (Gal. 6:2).