The Mississippi Baptist Foundation  |  est. 1943  |  Psalm 24:1
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      Have you ever known someone who has needed help in some area of their life? I would guess that the answer to that question for nearly everyone would be “Yes” so allow me to present a follow-up question: “Would the person deemed to be in need of help allow someone else to render aid to them?” I’m guessing the answer to that question may not always be in the affirmative.    
      Perhaps you are aware of situations in which help has been refused by an individual needing some outside assistance. Why would such refusal occur? Perhaps several reasons exist but several possibilities for refusing help might be that the person in need of assistance (a) is in denial and may not believe that they need any help whatsoever, (b) might realize that help is needed but they do not want to admit this reality, (c) might be refusing help from a certain person(s) rather than refusing assistance altogether, or (d) their definition of “help” does not align well with the definition of “help” of the one providing assistance.
      A dictionary definition of “Help” includes: (1) the action of helping someone to do something; assistance, (2) make it easier for (someone) to do something by offering one’s services or resources; (3) to give assistance or support; (4) to make more pleasant or bearable, improve; (5) to do something with or for someone that he cannot do alone.     
      What can you do when someone who needs assistance in order “to make (life) more pleasant or bearable” refuses your help? I would suggest the following…

H = Offer a Hand. Even though your offer to assist may be refused, such an outcome should not keep you from offering your services and/or resources. You may have a truck to offer someone who is moving. You may have a particular tool or piece of equipment that can “make it easier for someone to do something.” You may offer yourself and your time to someone in order for a particular task or challenge to be accomplished more easily, more efficiently, or more safely. You might offer financial or other resources that could improve someone’s situation. To whom could you offer a helping hand? Will you H-e-l-p?

E = Offer Encouragement. The term “encouragement” means “to come alongside and impart courage and inspire confidence.” People need encouragement because almost every person you meet is fighting a great battle within. Similar to the manner in which Aaron and Hur came alongside of Moses and encouraged him at Rephidim (Exodus 17), we all need encouragement. Also, we all need to be encouragers of others.

To whom could you come alongside and impart courage? Who do you know in need of an encouraging word? Sage advice from Proverbs includes “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver” (25:11) and “pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones” (16:24). People everywhere are in need of an encouraging word, an uplifting compliment, or a note of encouragement (whether written, texted, or emailed). Who do you know that needs encouragement? Will you h-E-l-p?

L = Offer a Listening ear. While I am not a psychologist or a sociologist or any other kind of “ologist,” I believe that help can be rendered in many cases simply by listening to someone. Rather than present advice or attempt to tell someone what actions they should take (even when you are confident that your suggestions and advice are sound and would prove beneficial if followed), sometimes a listening ear is all the help that is needed at that moment. Listening has a way of promoting confidence in another person and in gaining their trust in you. Listening demonstrates your concern for and interest in another person. Listening may be the best help that can be offered in support of another person. A wise person once said, “God gave you two ears and one tongue…use them proportionately.” Who can you help by offering a listening ear? Will you h-e-L-p?

P = Offer a Prayer. We are admonished in scripture to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17), to pray in faith (James 5:15) and to “present your requests to God with thanksgiving” (Philippians 4:6). Even though your offers of help and your attempts to provide assistance to someone may be rebuffed, you can always offer a prayer for that person and for their situation and need.  Why? Because “the prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective” (James 5:16) and God’s ears are attentive to your prayer (1 Peter 3:12). After all, God’s understanding of every situation and need of the person that you desire to help is much greater than your perspective.

Who can you help by presenting them to God through prayer? Ask the Lord to grant you the wisdom necessary to know how and when to offer assistance to another. Ask the Lord to give you opportunities to render aid to someone in need of your help. Ask the Lord for a path or open door through which someone invites you to come alongside of them to offer a helping hand, encouragement, or a listening ear. Will you h-e-l-P?            

Dear Heavenly Father, May I avail myself to opportunities to provide help to someone who needs that kind of assistance that I am able to provide. May I be used of You to improve someone’s situation and to make life more bearable for them. May I be willing to deploy resources of my time, energy, experience, and finances to support others. May I not be discouraged when my offers of assistance are refused but may I be concerned enough to continuing offering help. May others receive a blessing from you through me. Amen.