Compassionate Conversations — 2023

As believers we often find ourselves holding compassionate conversations. These may be divine appointments, where you are the right person to bear witness to a receptive person at just the right moment. Often, believers find themselves involved in conversations that may be delicate or difficult. We may want to help but are hesitant because we do not know how, or do not want to make matters worse. Many of these conversations center on medical issues or personal relationships. Here are my six guides for holding compassionate conversations:

Meet people where they are, not where you think they should be. Compassion starts with respect and dignity.

Listen to their story. Be slow to talk or give advice. Let them unburden in the moment. Listening is the time to keep quiet. Then seek to restate to them what you just heard. This helps you both understand the issue.

Remember, you are not their doctor. Even though medical, psychological or other symptoms may be expressed, or your opinion sought, you are not their doctor.

Set reasonable time and place limits. With deep issues, some people can be overwhelming in their need for conversation. Compassionate conversations are best when held in appropriate places, for agreed upon lengths of time. For example, if you have only 15 minutes for a conversation, agree upon that time frame at the start, or set a better length of time for later. 

Offer an in-the-moment prayer. Ask them how best to pray. Do not always assume that you know what prayer you should offer on their behalf. Ask them, and then pray that request right then.

Leave them with a word of hope and grace. Conclude your conversation with encouraging words of hope and grace. Point them to Jesus.

Galatians 6:2 reminds us to “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” Compassionate conversations are not always easy, but they can ease the load, bear a light in the darkness and provide a friend for the journey.

Keep healthy. Pray mightily. Enjoy your life today. Prepare for your divine appointments. And let’s experience the love and power of God together.

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