For Relief, Tell Someone

Written by M. Larson

Samuel looked woefully at his departing relatives. Then he began wailing loudly. He knew they were leaving him with these strange people. Samuel’s parents had been killed by a bomb that had hit their house in Beirut, and his relatives couldn’t afford to take care of him.

So Samuel joined the 40 other Arab boys who lived at this boys home in Lebanon directed by missionaries Leonard and Lois Swenson. Somehow these orphaned boys had readily adjusted to their new home and environment. “How do they get over their traumatic experiences so quickly?” Lois wondered.

That evening she went to the boys’ dorm to see how Samuel was doing. The dorm was dark, but she could hear the boys talking. She stood outside the door listening.

“Why are you here, Samuel?” one lad asked. “Tell us all about it.” So Samuel poured out his woeful tale. As he spoke, the other boys prompted him for all the details. When he finished, the other boys in that dorm told their stories.

So that’s how these boys get their traumatic experiences out of their system! Lois thought. And that’s how they establish a rapport among themselves and begin to feel at home here. No wonder they have so few emotional problems!

Will I ever be OK?

When we go through a traumatic experiences, we may wonder if we’ll ever recover. Some of us were abused as children or teens, or in our marriages. Others have been deserted or betrayed by husbands or wives. Others have gone through messy divorces or lost custody of children. And perhaps we would give anything if we could erase the mistakes we ourselves made and go back and do things better. But we can’t, can we?

Through my experience as a counselor I have learned first-hand how therapeutic it is for people to be able to unburden themselves of their hurts and problems. After I have listened to them, shared Scripture, and prayed with them, they often experience a great feeling of relief. Peace and faith replace distress of mind.

My being able to share similar things from my own life with others and tell how the Lord has given me victory has also proven very helpful. It’s comforting to know you are not along in your suffering and that others have found a way to cope with God’s help.

Paul wrote to the Galatians, “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ” (Gal. 6:2). Talking things out can help us to enjoy better emotional, physical, and spiritual health. Let’s consider the Biblical and psychological basis for this, as well as Biblical counsel for deliverance.

Unburdening to God

When I have gone through traumatic experiences, I found that running to the Lord, unburdening myself to Him, and crying to Him for help and guidance have helped me greatly emotionally and spiritually. The Lord has always been there for me, comforting and giving me His peace.

If we try to carry our burdens by ourselves, however, the load can become unbearable. We might develop physical and emotional problems if we suppress distress that makes us want to scream in agony. That happened to me some years ago when I felt torn between relatives. Four doctors couldn’t help me. When time and distance resolved the conflict, my ailment cleared up!

We may see no resolution for some problems, but the Lord can deliver us from the burden of them. Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). It works!

Unburdening to a sympathetic person

Often just talking things out with an experienced Christian counselor or friend can relieve us of physical and emotional ailments, or help us discover answers for ourselves.

While teaching at a writers conference, I interviewed a woman for her testimony. Later I realized she had omitted something concerning the birth of her child. The next morning I asked her about it.

She broke down and told me her daughter had been the product of rape, and how she had been beaten by her father when he had learned she was pregnant. This had increased the false guilt she had felt because of what had happened to her. Deep down within her she had carried that feeling of guilt.

After sharing this with me, she exclaimed, “Oh, I feel so much better now! The heavy burden I’ve borne alone all these years has been lifted!”

When we find what relief sharing our problems with someone can bring, we may then become caring listeners to others. People who are troubled don’t need a lecture; they need love and sympathetic help. The Holy Spirit can give us wisdom in counseling and comforting.

The power of confession

Relief and peace often come when we confess our sins. First John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

The Lord forgives our sins if we come to Him in true repentance. When the burden of them rolls off our backs, we experience great relief. Peace floods our souls like Cloud Nine.

It also helps to confess our sins and failures to fellow Christians. James said, “Therefore confess your sins to each other, and pray for each other so that you may be healed’ (5:16). Guilt feelings make people ill!


Jesus Christ promised His followers the abundant life, which includes peace, joy, and fruitfulness in His service. Why settle for anything less?

Each day I pray, “Lord, if there is someone You want me to help today, here I am.” Many hurting people are just waiting for someone to care and listen.

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