What to say to a sick man?

This is Part 2 of a 5 part series. Read the introduction here.

Read Part 1 “Who are the Majestic Ones?” here.

Here’s something practical, down-to-earth, and just plain helpful. ” What to say to a sick man?” This can be important for evangelism too.

Nearly everyone wants to help, but how? Most of us struggle to find words when we meet someone who is sick or going through a crisis. I admit that up until now my most common response has been to say, “I’m sorry.”  I was doing my best to empathize with the hurting. But since I got cancer I’ve discovered that to say, “I’m sorry” doesn’t help much. It just leaves me in my condition. What I need is hope and lots of it! I found that any attempt at hope, even suggestions for crazy alternative therapies, offers some hope.

Teachings don’t help much either. Sick men don’t need teaching; we need faith.

What should a person say to a sick guy? The best response I found is for someone to come along side, listen and humbly ask, “What can I do to help?” Who knows? Maybe the need is a ride? Or meals for the family? Or help to change a light bulb?

Flynn is a young and single father whose daughter Riley had a dramatic bout with a cancerous brain tumor. Riley survived the surgery with eighty-eight stitches in her head. Flynn mentioned something I had recently taught the church. “I really appreciated what you taught the other day. You said, “Don’t say, ‘I’m sorry’ to people who are hurting. That doesn’t help. What we need is encouragement, not sympathy.”

Think about it. “What can I do to help?” or “How can I help you?” These questions show humility on our part. No need to guess or assume what someone else needs. These questions place the sick man in the driver’s seat. They show respect to the sick. They empower the person who’s hurting and allow him or her to express his own needs. And who knows better than anyone what’s the need of the moment than the sick man himself?



  1. Hello Mark, Did some Google-ing and found your site.

    It is my deep desire to be a help and comfort to you and to Kari and your family.

    I want you to know that I am standing with you in faith – believing that you will be completely restored to good health.

    I stand on Hebrews 11:1

    “What can I do to help?”

    “How can I help you?”

    Best regards to you Mark and Kari,

    Your sister in the Lord,


    • Hi Greta,
      Thanks for sharing and standing in faith with us. I am almost finished with the book you sent and am following it closely. God is doing a daily and deeper work in my life.
      Love in Christ, Mark

      • Hi Mark, So neat hearing from you.

        I am wondering which book you are reading. I assume it is the book by Henry Wright : “A More Excellent Way” I recently had a book/booklet sent with the title: “New Insight into Cancer” by Henry Wright. Wonder if you received it. If not, it should arrive shortly.

        By the way, Kari thought I had sent a book on Addictions. No I did not send you that one. I have not been reading about that.

        It blesses me that you are going deeper with our precious Lord. and that is my hearts desire also. There is no other way, but His way. And there is always MORE.

        Sometimes He wakes me up in the middle of the night and put into my memory people that have hurt me years ago and I had ought against, but had forgotten about. I had covered up the hurt and my unforgiveness toward that person. But the problem – Unforgiveness – such an ugly sin still hiding deep inside of me. So because He showed me, I can get things right. Isn’t it great there is no time or distance problems with God and isn’t it wonderful that He is so patient with us.

        Come to think of it, I have to forgive Bank of America, because they sold my mortgage to another company while I was in the middle of refinancing with them.
        So I had to go somewhere else for the refinancing. YUK

        Now I keep asking Him to show me if I have unforgiveness, bitterness or if I have judged anyone. I have a problem with judging. That sin is so insidious. Oh, I am so quick to judge, even people that I do not even know – or people in traffic. but I am getting better.

        I have struggled with the spirit of rejection – all my life, but I didn’t recognize that for years. When I finally realized I had that problem I did not know what to do about it.

        Probably all my life, have believed I was not good enough, not smart enough, not loved, not lovable, and more. But I do know now that I am excepted and loved by Jesus.

        Then when discovered I have a problem with rejection I did not kn ow what to do about it – could not figure out where it began. Finally, this year, at my ripe age, I am beginning to understand where it began and finally going to the Lord in prayer about it. I know there is help for that now and I am getting better.

        I would like to go Georgia to attend some of the classes held by Henry Wright and his team. I would like to help myself and later help others.

        We are a little bit like cabbages aren’t we? We peel off a layer and then there is another layer. We sure are complicated.

        These books that I am reading are helping me get closer to the Lord and cleaning me up. They are helping me opening my understanding. Our world is filled with messed up people. Not until we have God in our life do we have hope.

        Now I am reading one that is called: “The Bait of Satan” by John Bevere. I am learning.

        Well, this ended up being a newspaper instead of a quick note. I do get kind of wordy.

        Please overlook all the misspelled words and poor grammar – working on it.

        God sent His Word and healed Mark!

        Love in Christ,


  2. Hi again Mark,

    I have for some time enjoyed visiting Sid Roth’s website http://www.sidroth.org listening to many wonderful testimonies of God’s awesome love and miracle working powers in people’s lives. Also, I am learning new things about God and it is helping me grow in him.

    I decided to pass on his website address to you. Maybe you already know about his site. Anyway, just decided to share it with you.

    You can go to ISN or to TV archives. He has years of testimonies, Marilyn Hickey,
    Perry Stone, Henry Wright and many, many, many more. Hope it will bless you and Kari, as it is blessing me.

    God Bless You!


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