My son and I took the hour and ten minute drive to Columbia, South Carolina at 6:30 AM this morning to learn how to save a life. Our mission was to take the American Heart Association’s CPR/AED class. We learned many fascinating facts and hopefully learned how to save a life if it becomes necessary. One more way Saint Francis Parish is working to help those in need!
One of the fascinating facts they shared was that for every minute that passes without CPR or the use of an AED means a 7-10% decrease in the chance of survival. That is horrifying when you think about it! Having suffered cardiac arrest 3 times in the past 20 years, I can tell you that I hope someone versed in CPR and AED usage is nearby if I need them again!
The truth is that the same can be said of someone in spiritual distress too. It may take longer for spiritual death to occur, without proper assistance spiritual death can occur. Thankfully, anyone can help in these situations.
How do we help?
1. Listen without condemnation. Those who are in spiritual crisis sometimes need someone to listen. But they do not need someone to condemn them. That is most likely why they are in spiritual crisis to begin with. Someone who claimed to be spiritual or religious condemned them and put them into crisis. It behooves us to listen but not to condemn.
2. Be there without strings. So often people expect something in return for being there for others. This is part of the problem. In many cases, religious people expect someone to come to their church or come to their way of thinking in exchange for being there. We need to be there for people regardless of whether there is anything in it for you or not.
3. Be compassionate and understanding. They may be angry. They may lash out and denigrate your faith. But in the end, they are only reacting to their own hurt and brokenness. They are not necessarily angry at you. They are just angry. Meet their anger and hurt with compassion and love. Show them Christ through your actions. You don’t have to say anything, just show them love and compassion.
These three steps are a great start to saving a person’s spiritual life. We can all help to save a spiritual life if only we are willing to follow these three steps.
Here at Saint Francis, we continue to strive to be a hospital for the broken, not a museum for the perfect.