Spiritually sick people struggle with lust, anger, resentment, control and addiction. Spiritual diseases are evils that we struggle with. That’s why most of the Lord’s miracle were healing miracles. The “sick” need healing and safety.
Always listen first.
You don’t really know a neighbor’s needs unless you listen. Listening is the door to compassion.
Go to see your neighbor.
“I was sick and you visited to me.” Often people who are sick are also isolated. Being present helps.
Ask, “What’s painful in your life?”
Or, “What’s not working in your life?” Just as a doctor will ask, “Where does it hurt?” we can similarly discover the symptoms of the spiritual illness. Knowing the symptoms helps diagnosis.
Do the work of repentance.
Spiritual disease is evil that must be identified and removed. Working on repentance yourself lets you share the process with others. Remember four steps:
- Examine yourself.
- Find an evil in yourself.
- Ask the Lord for help.
- Begin a new life.
Find a support group, therapy group or 12-step program.
If there is a program for the particular illness your neighbor has, help them find it.
Ask about a time when your neighbor felt well.
Recalling a healthy time can give hope that healing is possible. It can also clarify goals for healing.
Think about your neighbor’s friends.
When one person is sick it usually affects others. For example, living with an addict can make us codependent.
Be willing to offer and accept forgiveness.
Both giving and receiving forgiveness are part of the healing process. Set boundaries and remember that allowing abuse to continue is not forgiveness.
Ask the Lord for healing.
The Lord is our healer. Share some stories from the New Testament about healing. Some people say the root of all addiction is that we try to fill a God-shaped hole inside with something other than God.
Never pressure people to talk about their faults.
Admitting your own faults can give others permission to talk about theirs.
Be willing to apologize and forgive.