In What Ways Might Christian Teachings Help People Who Are Suffering?

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Bad experiences are a part of life and everyone will go through them at some time in their lives. Many people turn to some form of religion in times of trouble; in this essay I am going to investigate the guidance and support that Christian teachings give to people in need. The prime example of suffering in the bible is that of Jesus. He suffered the ultimate sacrifice of death to save mankind from death for their sins. This gives a comparison for someone who is suffering; it shows that however bad the suffering of that person is it is nothing compared to the suffering felt by Jesus. The bible also says that we should be happy that we are suffering just as Jesus did, ‘be happy that you are sharing in Christ’s sufferings so that you will be happy and full of joy when Christ comes again in glory. When people insult you because you follow Christ, you are blessed, because the glorious spirit, the Spirit of God, is with you.’ This teaches us that we should be proud to be a Christian and not worry about the suffering that that may bring upon us. The resurrection of Jesus also gives hope for a person in need as it tells them that suffering is only temporary and there will be an end to it. The bible teaches that God is in control of the universe and all that occurs in it; this means that God has the power to relieve people from suffering and make them a better person because of it. This links into a piece of literature that could help many people through hard times in their lives, this is a poem entitled ‘Footprints’. It tells of a man having a dream of his life represented as a walk along a beach. He sees that walking with him is the Lord. At the hardest times in his life there is only one set of footprints and he questions the Lord as to why he was deserted during his times of need. The Lord answers with, ‘during your times of trial and suffering when you see only one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you.’ This poem shows that whoever believes in Christ will never be alone and will always be helped through their suffering. This could be a great help to people in need as it shows, once again, that there is an end to suffering and with the help of God people can make it through times of trial. The bible gives comfort to people in need, in various passages; ‘our ancestors trusted you; they trusted, and you saved them. They called to you for help and were rescued.’1 This affirms that if you trust in God he will save you from pain and suffering. ‘The Lord is my shepherd… he gives me new strength. He leads me on paths that are right for the good of his name. Even if I walk through a very dark valley, I will not be afraid, because you are with me, you will comfort me.’2 These verses tell a person in times of trouble that they are not alone and that they can always find comfort in God. The bible also tells Christians that suffering is an earthly thing and that at the end of life, full of struggle and hardship, there is heaven, a place where there is no suffering. ‘The sufferings we have now are nothing compared to the great glory that will be shown to us.’3 ‘We have small troubles for a while now, but they are helping us gain an eternal glory that is much greater than the troubles.’4 These verses tell of a far higher reward in heaven for accepting Jesus as Lord; this re-assures Christians that the troubles in life will be long forgotten in heaven. The bible tells of prayer as an answer to suffering, ‘anyone who is having troubles should pray… And the prayer that is said with faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will heal that person… When a believing person prays, great things happen.’ This shows that God will answer prayer and says that a person who prays will be brought out of suffering. The main principle of the Christian faith is to love one another as Jesus does. This belief in Jesus inspires some Christians to help people who suffer, may it be in prayer or in a practical way such as giving food to those who...
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