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For example, have you ever shared a health-prayer request with others, and then you began to receive a lot of unsolicited health advice and the latest cure? This scenario plays out all the time, and it should be because Christians are the most caring people in the world. Year in and year out, we donate the most money and provide more resources to the hurting and homeless than anyone else.
We’re the world’s largest volunteer army, going about doing good for the sake of Christ. On a micro-level, we do similar things for each other, making house visits, phone calls, soliciting funds for others, and preparing meals. These things are what we do. We’re Christians. Why do we do these things? It’s the gospel.
However, the burden of the sickness and endless advice complicate the hurting person’s soul, amping up their soul noise as they wrestle with what’s wrong with them.
It takes discernment when giving advice. You want to read the room while praying about whether this is helpful or you’re mapping your success story over them, as though God is writing the same narrative for them.
Here are three considerations that may tempt the sick person.
Have you ever thought about how suffering works with the gift of leadership? When a person is suffering, they must know how to lead themselves through it or become victims of their suffering. Christian men, women, and children must not choose to “sit this one out.”
Analogous to Christ in Gethsemane, when the men were sleeping on the job while He suffered. He suffered, and He led. Suffering well assumes leading well.
Thank you so much for your care. I consider it an honor that you care for me, especially now. Right now, I believe (and I would not hold back from dropping the “God card” right here) God wants me to follow (fill in the blank) advice.
They have laid out a plan for me, and I believe this is the best direction for me, at least for now. If the Lord leads in another direction, I’m most definitely open to it. And though I know you have already, please pray for me. Be assured that I will consider your advice.
As you can imagine, this is new for me, so I’m holding my plans loosely. Again, thank you for your care. Your care and prayers are the things that bring me daily encouragement.
This kind of framework will let them know that (1) you are “in faith” for what you’re doing, and (2) you are drawing a clear line while not being dismissive of their care, which only the truth can do.
Rick launched the Life Over Coffee global training network in 2008 to bring hope and help for you and others by creating resources that spark conversations for transformation. His primary responsibilities are resource creation and leadership development, which he does through speaking, writing, podcasting, and educating.
In 1990 he earned a BA in Theology and, in 1991, a BS in Education. In 1993, he received his ordination into Christian ministry, and in 2000 he graduated with an MA in Counseling from The Master’s University. In 2006 he was recognized as a Fellow of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (ACBC).