As a counselor, one of my favorite Bible verses is 2 Corinthians 1:3-4. Here’s what it says: Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.
4 Keys to Comforting Others in Trouble
I think there are 4 keys we can take from this passage that can help us comfort others who are struggling:
- God is a God of comfort. Comfort involves offering presence and caring for people who are struggling. Part of God’s character is to offer love and compassion to those who are in trouble. It’s part of who God is. When we are in relationship with God, He comforts us in our trouble. We can turn to God when we are struggling, and receive help.
- We need comfort from others as well. In addition to receiving comfort from God, these verses talk about giving and receiving comfort from one another. This is part of what it means to be the hands and feet of Jesus. It’s important to be in community and receive help and support from others as well. If you are struggling, don’t just reach out to God in prayer. Reach out to God AND reach out to your support system.
- There is a connection between the comfort we receive and the comfort we offer to others. It’s difficult to offer something to others that we haven’t received ourselves. If we truly want to love and care for others who struggling, we have to get in touch with our own brokenness and need for grace—AND we have to receive some comfort in that struggle. Part of the reason why we need comfort from God and others is so that we can in turn offer comfort to others who are struggling.
- We don’t have to have the exact same experience to help. I love the part of the verse where it says we can comfort those in ANY trouble. Sometimes we might think that to help someone, we need to have experienced the exact same problem in our past. For example, if we want to help someone who is struggling with alcohol abuse, we need to be a recovered alcoholic. But that’s not what the verse says. We can comfort those in ANY trouble. We don’t have to have the exact same experience in order to provide comfort to someone who is hurting. We do, however, have to be in touch with our own pain, struggle, and brokenness, and have received some comfort from God and others.
Discussion: What do you think about the connection between receiving comfort from God, and being able to give comfort to others? How do you experience receiving comfort from God and others? How do you in turn provide comfort to others?