Helping a Friend in Doubt
When doubt hits, it is devastating. Here are four key ways you can support a friend who is in the throes of doubt:
Listen. Encourage the sufferer to talk out his or her doubts. Doubts get magnified when they are kept inside. Exposing them to the light helps take away the “bogeyman” aspect that is so terrifying.
Affirm. Affirm the sufferer’s faith. Affirm their Christian walk. Affirm their past service to the Lord. Affirm their calling in life. Affirm them as they pray, however faltering it is. Affirm them as they read the Scriptures and as they read other helpful books. Affirm their insights. Doubts tear down – affirmations build up. So keep affirming them in every way you can.
Pray. At this point in time, the sufferer doesn’t have a lot of energy to pray for themselves, or confidence that God will respond to prayer at all. So step up your prayers, and let your friend know that you are doing so. Knowing that someone else is praying for them can be a lifeline, both because it spurs them on to pray themselves, and because they know that God is being petitioned on their behalf – this knowledge alone can give them renewed confidence and strength.
Assist. When doubts assail, it can be hard to read the Bible – it often seems lifeless and dead. Help your friend by passing on verses, insights, passages from other books, etc. Keep it short, keep it simple, and keep it coming. Your involvement can significantly help in keeping their hope alive.