I also recommend spending time with a person just for fellowship. It really bothers me when people call me out of the blue and ask me a hundred questions about my life. I feel like I'm going through an interrogation. It appears that the person is performing a duty by contacting me, and it just doesn't feel genuine. If you are not invested, please don't call out of the blue or set up a lunch appointment just to grill someone. When people want to share and are ready, they will. They don't want to feel pressured and don't want unsolicited advice! It is really hard taking advice from someone who has never walked in your shoes. If they ask for advice, it's one thing, but if they don't, it can cause more pain.
It would also be helpful to just have some fun together! You don't have to just talk about "issues" all the time. Most people want friendships and someone to share life with. They desire someone to call during times of celebration and times of grief. They desire people to break bread with them or to go see the latest movie. The church needs to be intentional in creating opportunities for people to meet and develop relationships. The lack of companionship can weigh on a person emotionally, so I believe it is the church's obligation and a ministry opportunity to be a loving source of support for those individuals who find themselves lonely or depressed.
I believe Jesus wants us to be emotionally stable and healthy. He tells us in Matthew 11:28, "Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest." The Lord states in Jeremiah 31:25, "I have given rest to the weary and joy to the sorrowing." I know that God does. I am a living testimony of his renewal and refreshing. The Lord used people in the body of Christ to love me back to a place of wholeness. They loved me and cared for me. At one point in my life, I was overwhelmed with church hurt. I could not find any answers or support in the church, so I didn't know where to go. It is at this time that most people leave the church and never return. I considered it myself. If you can't find healing in the body of Christ, where can you find it?
You can find it in authentic followers of Jesus. In my quest to find answers and a message of hope, I found a website called Church Exiters, where I met Barb. I emailed her and shared my story of spiritual abuse. Barb emailed me the same day and has emailed me ever since. She sent me emails several times a day and allowed me to vent my hurt, pain, and frustrations. Barb telephoned me and listened to my stories. She offered Scriptures, songs, books, and sermons of love. Barb sought to connect me with trusted pastors and friends in my area, who could shepherd me through my process. She introduced me to several websites and communities of love and support. She never passed judgment and always offered the love of Christ. Day by day, God used her to keep pointing me back to his love and his true followers. God used Barb and a few other faithful friends to love me back to life. It is my hope that others who are suffering in the body of Christ receive that same type of healing love.