This is an excellent and much-needed question! There are countless souls who fall into this category of “brokenhearted.” They are filled with sorrow and sadness after having lost a loved one or for some other adversity that has come into their life. The Lord Jesus had a special place in His heart for them, for we learn in Luke 4:18 that He was sent “to heal the brokenhearted.” We may not have the power to heal those whose hearts are breaking, but we can surely be used to encourage them and to point them to the One who can indeed heal them. I can think of 3 ways to encourage them.

  1. We can WEEP with them. Romans 12:15 tells us we are to, “Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and WEEP WITH THEM THAT WEEP.” I have been at the side of one who was brokenhearted and found myself at a loss for words. At those times we can still sympathize with them with our TEARS. We should all be familiar with that precious scene in John chapter 11 where Jesus was told that His friend Lazarus had died. When He came to the funeral we read these words in verses 33-34, “Therefore, when Jesus saw her [Mary] weeping, and the Jews who came with her weeping, he groaned in the spirit and was troubled. And He said, ‘Where have you laid him?’ They said to Him, ‘Lord, come and see.’ JESUS WEPT” (NKJV). Why did Jesus weep? It was not for Lazarus, for He was about to raise him from the dead. He wept in sympathy with the brokenhearted, and by doing so He was giving comfort to them without speaking a word. Some will say that crying is a form of weakness, especially for a man, but here was the greatest Man that ever lived shedding heartfelt tears in unison with the brokenhearted. If His heart was moved to tears, our hearts should also be sensitive and caring enough to “weep with them that weep.
  1. We can LISTEN to them. James 1:19 declares, “So then, my brethren, let every man be SWIFT TO HEAR, slow to speak.” I had mentioned earlier that I had no words to speak to bring comfort to one whose heart was grieving, but we can always “lend them our ear.” I believe this is one of the most effective ways to “give encouragement to the brokenhearted person,” for at those times they really need to unload their burdened heart to someone. Perhaps, after listening closely to them and praying silently for the Lord to use you, the Lord may give you something to say to help relieve their troubled heart. But even if the words don’t come, our willingness to listen may be just what they need. If you are familiar with the story of Job, you will recall how Job’s three “friends,” came to comfort him when his heart was breaking. Job 2:11 informs us that “they had made an appointment together to come to mourn with him and to comfort him.” But we know the sad outcome, for instead of comforting him; they ended up judging him unfairly and they accused him of secret sins that brought about the trials in his life. Had they truly LISTENED, their hearts would have been moved and they would have been an encouragement to him instead of another trial in his life.
  1. We can EMPATHIZE with them. The Apostle Paul said in 2nd Corinthians 1:3-4: “Blessed be the God and Father or our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort, WHO COMFORTS US IN ALL OUR TRIBULATION, THAT WE MAY BE ABLE TO COMFORT THOSE WHO ARE IN ANY TROUBLE, WITH THE COMFORT WITH WHICH WE OURSELVES ARE COMFORTED BY GOD.” The word “empathize” means “to have the same feelings as another because we have gone through the very same experience they are going through.” This is exactly what the apostle is saying in these verses; he could bring comfort to them because he was once where they are. But he adds that he can comfort them, “with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” This is no doubt the most effective form of bringing comfort to the brokenhearted…when we can relate to them the very things God did for us to heal our broken heart. Of course God ultimately uses His precious Word to bring us comfort, so we in turn can show them the very scriptures that were used to relieve the burdens of our heart. (211.7) (DO)