How to lift the spirit of the terminally ill? (7 tips)

Many wonder how to deal with a dying patient. The Bible says that the spirit of the sick needs to be lifted up:

The spirit of a person can endure his sickness,

But as for a broken spirit, who can endure it? (Proverbs 18:14)

When man understands that it is almost time to leave this world, his spirit is overwhelmed with sorrow. How can we lift the spirit of one who is on the verge of death so that he is supported in his disease, as is written in the above verse?

1. Provide comfort and encouragement to the dying patient

When a person is sick or dying, he needs comfort and encouragement. A saying goes, “Sweet words bring much.” So also the wise Solomon in Proverbs 15:4 says:

A soothing tongue is a tree of life,

But perversion in it crushes the spirit.

And in Proverbs 18:21 he adds:

Death and life are in the power of the tongue,

And those who love it will eat its fruit.

As medical workers or relatives, we must pay attention to our speech, to the way we address the patient, to the words we use, to the tone in which we speak. Sick people are much more sensitive to the words of those around them than healthy ones. Even if it happens that the patient does something not as we think he should do, we should not scold him, but help him and comfort him. Under no circumstances should we raise our voices to them. I know very good doctors as specialists in the field and who do not refuse to help anyone, but in certain situations they have lost control, raised their voices to patients and they did not want to consult these doctors.

2. Help the sick person to receive the disease as from God’s hand

He is the One who allows the disease. In Deuteronomy 32:39 the Lord says:

See now that I, I am He,

And there is no god besides Me;

It is I who put to death and give life.

I have wounded and it is I who heal.

The book of Job says that God also controls Satan. Satan could not touch Job until God allowed him and touched him only to the extent that God allowed him (first only his wealth, then his body, but he did not touch Job’s soul).

3. Helps the patient to understand why God allows disease

God can allow sickness for three reasons: to test our faith, to punish sin, or to reveal His glory. In Job’s case, God allowed the disease to test his faith, and the Bible says that Job remained steadfast in his faith.

God can also send sickness as a result of sin. In Exodus 15:26 it is written:

And He said, “If you will listen carefully to the voice of the Lord your God, and do what is right in His sight, and listen to His commandments, and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have put on the Egyptians; for I, the Lord, am your healer.”

Numbers 12:9-12 tells what happened after Mary, Moses’ sister, and Aaron, their brother, murmured against God.

And the anger of the Lord burned against them and He departed. But when the cloud had withdrawn from above the tent, behold, Miriam was leprous, as white as snow. As Aaron turned toward Miriam, behold, she was leprous.  Then Aaron said to Moses, “Oh, my lord, I beg you, do not hold us responsible for this sin by which we have turned out to be foolish, and by which we have sinned.  Oh, do not let her be like a dead person, whose flesh is half eaten away when he comes out of his mother’s womb!”  

Aaron acknowledged that leprosy was the consequence of their sin. However, the Bible tells us that sickness is not always a consequence of sin. In John 9:1-3 it is written:

As Jesus passed by, He saw a man who had been blind from birth.  And His disciples asked Him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he would be born blind?”  Jesus answered, “It was neither that this man sinned, nor his parents; but it was so that the works of God might be displayed in him. 

Then the Lord Jesus healed this blind man from birth and this miracle brought much glory to God and was a proof that the Lord Jesus was sent by God.

4. Give the patient directions on how to proceed for healing

Some patients do not accept treatment, other patients trust only the effect of the treatment. Let’s see what the Bible says about how a person should act when he is sick. James 5: 14-18 writes:

Is anyone among you sick? Then he must call for the elders of the church and they are to pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord;  and the prayer of faith will restore the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up, and if he has committed sins, they will be forgiven him.  Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. A prayer of a righteous person, when it is brought about, can accomplish much.  Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the earth for three years and six months.  Then he prayed again, and the sky poured rain and the earth produced its fruit.

So, when a man is sick, he must first confess his sin (admit that he has sinned), then receive the treatment (“after they anoint him with oil” – then the most common medicine) and then it says to pray, but to pray with faith and perseverance.

5. Help the sick person to understand that God can forgive any sin

When people are on the verge of death, they begin to look at life with different eyes. If they once thought they were not sinners or looked at sin lightly, when they reach the deathbed, they make an assessment of their lives and think that God cannot forgive their sins. My grandmother, two days before her death, said to me, “Does God seem to be able to forgive us all?” and I answered, “Yes, He can!” God forgave the thief on the cross, whom the Bible says was an evildoer. All this robber did was confess his condition (that he was a sinner and worthy of death) and prayed to the Lord Jesus:

And he was saying, “Jesus, remember me when You come into Your kingdom!”  And He said to him, “Truly I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.”(Luke 23:42-43 NASB)

In his first epistle, the apostle John writes in chapter 2 in verses one and two:

My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous;  and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.

What we are required to do to receive the forgiveness of sins is to confess our sins (to acknowledge that we have sinned and that we deserve God’s punishment) and to believe in the Name of the Lord Jesus. In John 20:30-31 is written the purpose for which this gospel was written:

Jesus did many other signs before His disciples that are not written in this book. But these things were written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and believing, have life in His name.

Son means of a nature with the Father. The Lord Jesus is portrayed in the Bible as the Son of God and as the Son of Man. Romans 1:3-4 helps us to understand this. Here Paul says of the Lord Jesus that He is:

concerning His Son, who was born of a descendant of David according to the flesh,  who was declared the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness by the resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord,

6. Help the patient to understand that he has no right to shorten the length of his own days and hasten his death

Some patients in their pain and torment want their death and pray for doctors to do something to hasten the moment of death. In Psalm 139:16 King David says:

Your eyes have seen my formless substance;

And in Your book were written

All the days that were ordained for me,

When as yet there was not one of them.

Then, if we go back to the book of Job, when Job’s wife told him to curse God and die, he replied:

“Shall we actually accept good from God but not accept adversity?” 

The Bible says that through all his words, Job did not sin against God, and God restored his health and wealth and even gave him more than he had in the beginning. In fact, when man is dissatisfied with his condition, with what is happening, he is dissatisfied with God, who has all things in control, and above I have shown the reasons why God permits sickness.

7. Respect the patient’s faith and religious beliefs

Respecting his beliefs, you will show respect for him. At the same time, we must help him to think of God, because God allows Himself to be found by those who seek Him with all their hearts.

Do not be indifferent to the dying patient, who is on the verge of death. Go to him today and help him according to the counsel and wisdom offered by God in His Word.

Translated by Aliona Soltan