Discouragement, encouragement and serving

Dr James Dobson, writing about the value of showing genuine interest and care in someone else:

"Suddenly, the beleaguered patient no longer feels alone - the most depressing of human experiences. 'Someone cares! Someone understands! Someone assures me with professional confidence that I will survive. I'm not going to drown in this sea of despondency. I have been thrown a life preserver by a friend who promises not to abandon me in the storm.' This is real therapy, and it exemplifies the essence of the Christian commandment that we 'bear one another's burdens' (Gal. 6:2).

"This same Christian principle offers the most promising solution to your inferiority and inadequacy. A person's own needs and problems seem less threatening when one is busy helping someone else handle theirs. It is difficult to wallow in your own troubles when you are actively shouldering another person's load and seeking solutions to that individual's problems. For each discouraged reader who feels unloved and shortchanged by life, I would recommend a conscious practice of giving to others. Visit the sick. Bake something for neighbours. Use your car for those without transportations. Most important, learn to be a good listener. The world is filled with lonely, disheartened people like yourself, and you are in an excellent position to empathise with them. And while you're doing it, I guarantee that your own sense of uselessness with begin to fade."
(From "How to build confidence in your child", p163-164)

Helpful?