The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. (Psalm 34:18 NIV)
What do you do when pain interrupts your class? When no subject is off limits and a class really shows genuine care and vulnerability (Which You Should), pain will come out in the middle of your lesson. How do you handle it? Here are some thoughts:
1. Listen to what they are saying and not saying. This requires attentiveness. Some may just come out and say what is going on in their lives. Take time to listen and show empathy. But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” (Matthew 9:13 NIV) We need to empathize with persons in pain. We all have moments of pain in life. After listening, decide the next steps: Prayer for the person. Who else needs to know with permission? Care for them in the moment and beyond.
Perhaps a person is tearing up and not really talking. Take time after class to talk or set up a time to talk during the week.
2. Use Care Group Leaders to help you care during the week. A teacher cannot do it all. I recommend care groups, much like a deacon family ministry plan. (Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org to know how to set them up.)
3. Have an active prayer chain/prayer ministry. Pain happens during the week as well. Have Care Group Leaders contact you and you let Care Group Leaders contact their people on roll to begin a prayer chain for someone in pain.
4. Empower people of pain to find the resources they need. Some people can develop a co-dependency to your care. Help these individuals discover the strength within themselves and refer them to professional counselors for long term recovery. There are certain types of pain that needs therapy. Don’t try to handle this on your own. Ask your Pastor for referrals that would be helpful.
Pain happens to all of us. It is best to be prepared and have necessary ways to help the brokenhearted and those crushed in spirit.