17 May 2012

A Few Thoughts on Visiting the Sick

Few of us think about visiting the sick.  For whatever reason we leave it to our pastor or elder or that other "gifted person in the congregation that performs visitations so well." Actually, we should all be visiting and comforting the sick as Providence allows (Matthew 25:45). To get us all started, here's a few pointers from David Dickson to consider as we prepare to head out.

-Often weak and sensitive, they [the sick or afflicted] are very susceptible of kindness, and grateful for it. Some may require systematic instruction in the truth; and even where this is not necessary the elder [or visitor] will find it add greater usefulness and interest to his successive visits to speak a little on some one important truth; and he will not find this without fruit.

-In visiting sick people or invalids we should avoid noise or abruptness. A low, quiet voice is usually soothing and pleasant to them, especially if they are weak and nervous.

-Don’t let us strain them with anything requiring long or continuous attention, and let our change from one subject to another be natural and easy. Such visits should not be of long duration, and it is best for us to leave immediately after engaging in prayer, giving them perhaps one text to keep near their heart.

-To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction is our privilege and duty, and to carry with us such messages from the word of God as are fitted to bind up the broken heart. In cases of sudden and severe affliction we may be able to do little more than weep with them that weep, giving the afflicted some word from the merciful and faithful High Priest, and perhaps taking hold of the sufferer’s hand—an act of sympathy which has often a wonderful power to calm and soothe in times of deep distress.

-The elder [or visitor] will seek, along with the minister, that a time of affliction may be a time of blessing to a family. It is not necessarily so, nor always so, for trial is not in itself sanctifying. But at such a time the affections are stirred and the mind opened to hear what would not have been listened to at another time. It is often a crisis in a family’s history. Let us seek wisdom to win souls at such a time; kindness and sympathy from us then will never be forgotten. It is after the excitement is over that a bereavement is most felt.

-Let the bereaved ones feel that in this cold and selfish world they have in their elder [or visitor] at least one human friend left. We may look in upon them in the evening occasionally ... trying in some measure to fulfill the promise, “When my father and mother forsake me, then the Lord will take me up.”

Dickson, David (1883-01-01). The Elder and His Work (Kindle Location 253-283, emphasis added).   Kindle Edition.

1 comment:

Pamela Nees said...

This is very helpful.

Thanks for sharing this, Russ.