August 26, 2018

Service: Making it Approachable for All

“Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.”-- Matthew 7:12 (KJV)

As stated in my previous article, Jesus was the embodiment of this well-known moral code. In our day, we still see how compassion brings light and love to everyone involved.

Service can be tricky. We don’t all have the same background. Our frames of reference will differ.

That’s where the golden rule comes in. However, it’s not just about how we would want to be treated. In what way would the suffering individual, with her different personality, want to be handled? Here are some variables:
  •  Is the sufferer reserved, or outgoing?
  • Will she misinterpret advice given in a strong manner?
  • Does she want your counsel, or only a shoulder to cry on?

Our Lives Vary

We all need help at times. Some challenges may take us through various stages of grief and living with a new normal.

If our path in life resembles the image above, we may wonder how we’ll ever reach our destination:
  • Does a stress-free stopping place really exist, or is that just a dream?
  • What does an untroubled existence feel like?

Our Needs Differ

Opportunities to serve are everywhere, but we may not always know how to address the needs. Here are some questions that may go through our minds:
  • How do people who seem to have perfect, straightforward lives (as in the image above) help those going through challenges?
  • Can individuals who have rarely dealt with death, chronic illness, or sudden loss truly serve loved ones confronted with a body-slamming blow—or even multiple hits?
  • Exactly what help will be needed and accepted?

Fortunately, we don’t need specific answers in order to be helpful. Everyone can play a part in boosting the affected person. A few simple attitudes have worked for me and others. Such remedies can make us a valuable ally at all times, regardless of our background:

Availability--Just be there, emotionally. That is so comforting. A lot of time and money aren’t always necessary.
Acceptance--Everyone handles stress in a different way. Some loved ones might not understand a sufferer’s reaction. We can still be supportive by not being judgmental—within reason.
Support--Less is more. Some people crave time alone. Many individuals don’t like to share their problems. Additionally, people in need aren’t always ready or willing to be helped. They may just want a hug, or a smile.
Patience--Some issues simply must be walked out. There are no healthy shortcuts through the painstaking process of healing, growing, or grieving.  Both the giver and the receiver of service will often find themselves facing delays.
My Conclusion

 “To give real service you must add something which cannot be bought or measured with money, and that is sincerity and integrity.”-- Douglas Adams (from

Service doesn’t always have to be complicated. It’s more about having an attitude of compassion. Such a mindset will lead the sincere person to know how and when to help suffering loved ones.

Related Posts

How does empathy lead you to serve?

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