Encouraging the Unemployed

by Stacey Shannon

Knowing how to reach out to friends who are facing job loss is difficult. When my husband was unemployed for a year, I learned what was especially encouraging.

Ask how they are. Most People who have lost jobs need emotional and spiritual support as much as anything. Periodically ask how they're doing, and take time to listen. However, avoid offering advice unless they request it.

Plan budget-friendly activities. When money is beyond tight, eating out, going to a movie, or shopping isn't a probability. Instead, suggest free or low-cost activities. Invite unemployed friends over for a meal, or treat them to a dinner out, if you can. Rent a DVD rather than catching a full-priced movie or hitting the mall. We loved it when friends stopped by on a Saturday evening to play board games with us.

Share your prayers. During my husband's unemployment, two friends emailed specific things they were praying for our family. One even typed her prayer into the message. I knew others were praying, but hearing about these prayers provided extra encouragement.

Organize a prayer time. Invite people to gather for prayer, or encourage them to pray individually at a specific time. We emailed family and friends and asked them to pray wherever they were on a certain day and time.

Don't ask if they need money. Families facing unemployment likely do need funds, but saying so is difficult. If you want to give, do so without making a big deal out of it --perhaps even contribute anonymously. A card with cash or a gift certificate to a grocery store or restaurant is always appreciated.

-from Discipleship Journal, March/April 2009, Issue 170, Pg. 69