You Never Know

All around you & me are people that are hurting!  People that are in a deep battle with life.  It might be their own mental state, a financial disaster, a family dysfunction….work issues, health….spiritual problems.  Anything!  For them, it can only be magnified when any other of life's struggles creep in.  Coping with stress is hard enough, throw in some small or even large issues and things can get out of control!

Just today, I read a story of a murder-suicide not too far from my house.  The authorities are still investigating the tragedy so they don't know WHO SHOT WHO first.  It was a beautiful couple with 2 kids (who were in the home when it occured) and a set of in-laws were there as well.  The picture the news showed of the two revealed a beautiful woman and a sharp dressed handsome man.  Both were smiling as if they were the happiest people in the world.

Today, we know….that was not the whole story.  Somewhere behind the scenes, problems or unhappiness must have knocked one or both of them around.  The wife was a teacher at a local school.  The article asked for prayers for the students and staff of her school.  Especially with the first day of classes coming up in just a few weeks.  Tragic, for the family….friends and co-workers/students/acquaintances.

How do you know….someone is in trouble?

LISTEN — Oftentimes, when someone is struggling they talk in a way that reveals they are in pain.  Not always but many who have had an experience with suicide victims, recall conversations filled with doom or destructive language.  Be alert to talk that is laden with hopelessness.  Offer to talk it out, pray with them…and remind them how much you care about them and about what happens to them.

TAKE IT SERIOUSLY — So many stories of looking back after a tragedy are laced with…."I didn't think she meant it!".  If someone you know and love is depressed or talking in a way out of character, consider it real!  Life is very fragile!  I know of more than one person who took their life but really didn't mean to do it.  Sometimes, crying out for help is just what they need to get it!

BE HEALTHY  —  It's impossible to be of any help to another person if you are on shaky ground emotionally yourself.  Do the work it takes to be healthy mentally, emotionally and physically.  Don't be afraid to talk out your needs with a physician or counselor.  Also, let family know….something doesn't feel or seem quite right.  Nothing is ever too silly!

I remember when I was 18 years old, the son of my mother's best friend shot himself.  He was trying to get the attention of a girl.  He never meant to kill himself….just shake her up.  The hole his death left in his family has never grown closed.  Each of them carry the scars of his loss still…. today, thirty years later.  He was only 19.  Obviously, he was hurting.  Surely, he cried out and complained or mentioned struggling. 

Who knows what kind of pain another is suffering with?  It's up to us to pay attention!  Don't be afraid to speak up or lend an ear.  Sometimes, all another person needs….is to know SOMEONE cares and hears them!


I pray for eyes to see when someone is in need.  Let me be willing and open to loving and listening.  Give me words to encourage and a heart to show compassion.


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