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Don’t Sing Songs to a Heavy Heart

How to Relate to Those Who Are Suffering

“Like one who takes away a garment on a cold day, or like vinegar poured on soda, is one who sings songs to a heavy heart.” (Proverbs 25:20)

This proverb describes an all-too-human problem each of us faces from time to time. We want to reach out and help those who are hurting—but the words or actions we use may unintentionally add to their burden instead of easing their pain.

A Much-Needed Guide

Forged from author Kenneth C. Haugk’s own experiences of suffering, the book draws on extensive research with more than 4,200 people who have experienced various kinds of suffering in their lives, offering key insights and suggestions of what to say and do—and what not to say or do—when people are hurting.

With its biblical foundation, compassionate approach, and concrete ideas, Don’t Sing Songs to a Heavy Heart will help you bring God’s loving presence to hurting people when they need it most.

Uses for the Book

Don’t Sing Songs to a Heavy Heart is a valuable resource for:

  • Pastors, chaplains, counselors, physicians, nurses, support group leaders, social workers, and others in the caregiving field

  • Deacons, elders, shepherds, and other congregation caregivers

  • Hospital and hospice volunteers and emergency relief workers

  • College and seminary classes on caregiving or pastoral care

  • Adult education classes, Sunday school classes, and small groups

  • Continuing education for Stephen Ministry

  • Anyone who relates to people who are suffering

In addition, people who themselves are in the midst of suffering find this book to be reassuring, comforting, and encouraging.

Table of Contents

Click here for a list of chapters. (Excerpts available to view.)

What Readers Are Saying

Click here to read what others are saying.

“People are often so afraid of saying the wrong thing to a hurting person that they end up saying nothing. Don’t Sing Songs to a Heavy Heart addresses this challenge with powerful ideas and effective words to bring healing and comfort. It’s an incredible book for anyone who wants to care for others.”

Denise Viker | Nurse | Mesa, Arizona

“Within an hour of finishing this book, I found myself using what I had learned. I recommend it to anyone who has ever wanted to help a hurting friend but didn’t know what to do or say.”

Rev. Darren Walker | Pastor | Glen Rose, Texas

Don’t Sing Songs to a Heavy Heart gets to the core of what hurting people face and the burdens they carry—providing a Christ-centered approach to caring for them.”

Hank Drummond | Chief Clinical Officer | Highland Beach, Florida

“This is an excellent resource! The chapters are concise and easy to read, and each one goes straight to the reality of what suffering people are going through.”

Elisabeth Berry | Logistics Systems Specialist | Moore, Oklahoma

“Congregation members often wonder how to talk to someone who is suffering. This book has the answers to their questions. I’ve given copies to people throughout our church—and the result has been transformed lives!”

Rev. Barbara Buck | Pastor | Rancho Palos Verdes, California

Don’t Sing Songs to a Heavy Heart has greatly helped me in both my work and my everyday caring. It spoke to my heart, and now I can better recognize the right and wrong things to say and when it’s best to just listen instead of talking.”

Doug Meyer | Paramedic | Greeley, Kansas

“I recommend this book to anyone who has ever wanted to reach out to a hurting person but thought, ‘I don’t know what to say.’ It gave me the confidence I needed to approach difficult situations and offer my presence and care.”

Bethel Crockett | Retired School District Administrator | Loveland, Colorado

“We’re all going to relate to people who are facing problems in life, and Don’t Sing Songs to a Heavy Heart can help anybody know how to care and be a better friend. I’m thankful for all the ways it’s helped me in my personal and professional relationships.”

Dr. Matthew Bloom | College Professor | Cedar Park, Texas

“I highly recommend Don’t Sing Songs to a Heavy Heart to anyone who wants to better support people who are hurting. It’s an invaluable resource with guidance you can apply right away—I use the principles in this book every day.”

Sarah Stoehr | Hospice Nurse | Antigo, Wisconsin

“We are all called to care. This book provides the tools and understanding we need to be a help and comfort to others. A must-read for everyone!”

Rev. Michael L. Russo | Deacon | Johnstown, Pennsylvania