Helping Those Who Hurt:
Reaching Out to Your Friends in Need
H. Norman Wright
Bethany House, 176 pages, $12.99

Norman Wright is no stranger to pain—his father was killed in a traffic accident, and his severely mentally handicapped son died as a young adult. Here, this trusted therapist and author of more than 70 books combines his expertise and personal experience to offer Christians sound advice on helping friends navigate life's stormiest situations.

Although Wright addresses major crises such as death and terminal illness, he also includes ideas for handling less visible traumas, such as encouraging someone suffering from depression. He cautions readers to identify and avoid "helper burnout."

Perhaps most beneficial is a list of familiar, well-intentioned phrases to avoid ("At least he didn't suffer"; "Well, just be glad it wasn't your only child"; or "It's a blessing"). Wright relies on Scripture, prayer, and the leading of the Holy Spirit as the foundation for all of his counsel.

Occasionally the material feels repetitious, but it is consistently simple and practical. "We can't always choose who comes to us for help," writes Wright. "We can choose to be there, to be present, to listen, and to pray." Any reader who has struggled with helping a hurting friend or family member will find good guidance here.

Related Elsewhere

Helping Those Who Hurt is available at and other retailers.

Christianity Today's Reflections looked last year at Grief and Suffering and featured a thought from H. Norman Wright. also reviewed Helping Those Who Hurt. For more Christianity Today book reviews, see our Books section.

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