Liahona
Learn the Healer’s Art
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Learn the Healer’s Art

Six principles can help us better support those in need.

Conversation

Has a friend ever told you about a challenging situation and you weren’t sure how best to help, or you looked back later and wished you had responded differently? Have you ever accepted a calling and worried how well you could help those you were called to serve?

The third verse of the hymn “Lord, I Would Follow Thee” (Hymns, no. 220) encourages, “I would learn the healer’s art.” What a powerful phrase! Each of us, regardless of our background or circumstances, can become more like our Savior by learning how to lift and strengthen others.

Here are six principles that can help you learn the Healer’s art. 1

1. Love first.

All of God’s children deserve love and kindness. We may not understand a person’s individual experiences, but we can always show love to him or her. When we truly care about someone else, that will shine through in our interactions. It will create a foundation of trust that can be incredibly helpful as we navigate challenging conversations—especially when we don’t say the perfect things at the perfect time.

2. Listen to understand.

Be careful not to make assumptions about what others feel or why they do what they do. Instead, ask questions and listen with the goal of understanding what the other person is going through. Remember, you don’t have to fix the situation. If we focus only on solving the problem, we may unintentionally send the message that what the other person is sharing isn’t important.

Instead, we can practice patient listening—trying to understand without planning what we’re going to say next. As we learn to simply listen and sit with someone in their pain, we create a sense of connection that in and of itself can be quite healing.

3. Teach truth.

After we understand the situation, we may feel like sharing what we know about comforting gospel principles. Prayerfully ask for the Spirit’s help to know what to share. Focus on truths that will help the person walk a path toward eternal joy.

Sister Michelle D. Craig, First Counselor in the Young Women General Presidency, taught, “Perhaps the most important things for us to see clearly are who God is and who we really are—sons and daughters of heavenly parents, with a ‘divine nature and eternal destiny.’” 2

4. Nourish faith.

We can encourage others to have faith in their Heavenly Father, who knows and loves them; their Savior, who understands them perfectly; and the Holy Ghost, who is eager to guide them. Something as simple as praying with them or reading scriptures together can help nourish their faith.

President Russell M. Nelson promised:

“The Lord does not require perfect faith for us to have access to His perfect power. But He does ask us to believe. …

“… Start today to increase your faith. Through your faith, Jesus Christ will increase your ability to move the mountains in your life, even though your personal challenges may loom as large as Mount Everest.” 3

This applies to our lives as well as the lives of those we are trying to help.

5. Continue to minister.

As we build relationships and carefully listen to what others need, we can trust that the Spirit will help us know how to act—both immediately and in an ongoing way. Some trials and challenges last a long time. Those we minister to may need continued help after the initial crisis has come and gone. When we prayerfully seek guidance and then open our eyes and hearts, we will receive heavenly help to know how to wisely serve one another.

6. Share our own burdens.

Many of us are willing to help someone else. But how many of us are willing to respond to a sincere “How are you?” with an honest answer? Do we trust others enough to be vulnerable and share what is really going on in our life?

The scriptures describe several times when the Savior accepted and even asked for service. Here are a few examples:

  • He ate in the homes of others (see Mark 2).

  • He allowed His feet to be washed with expensive oil (see Luke 7).

  • He asked the woman at the well for water (see John 4).

  • He let others see when He was troubled (see John 11).

Perhaps one thing we can learn from these accounts in the Savior’s life is that when we honestly share our lives with others, we have the chance to bless others and be blessed at the same time. We might share something that will help someone else realize that they are not alone in their struggles—and they just might be an answer to our own prayers.

We don’t need to be afraid when others come to us with their life challenges. As we start from a place of love and listening, the Spirit will help us know how to minister and nourish faith. We can, and should, ask for help too. In all these ways, we are following the example of Jesus Christ, who is “the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6). He is the true source of comfort and hope. He is the Master Healer.