Encouraging and Supporting Your Friends – Get Real, Go Deep
Key Bible Verse: Gently encourage the stragglers, and reach out for the exhausted, pulling them to their feet. Be patient with each person, attentive to individual needs. – 1 Thessalonians 5:14, The Message
Bonus Reading: 1 Thessalonians 3:2-3
If you were to share with a trusted friend that you struggle with watching television shows you know you shouldn’t, your friend could react in a number of ways. The reaction you receive will most likely reveal the depth of your friend’s commitment to you.
Your friend could say to you, “Well, just turn off the TV and pray about it.” In this case, your friend probably can’t really relate to your problem, but he thinks telling you this will help. He might be truly concerned, however, even though he doesn’t really understand. Or he may simply practice doling out spiritual-sounding advice.
On the other hand, imagine the difference if that friend makes a committed effort to help you. Think how you’ll feel if your friend says, “Let’s talk about your problem some more. Why do you think you’re having this struggle? Let’s pray about this together.” The two of you spend some time talking over the struggle you’re experiencing—and then you spend some more time beside each other in prayer. Your friend is committed to helping you—as long as it takes—until you get through this problem. Now that’s a committed friendship.
—David Wardell and Jeff Leever in Daily Disciples
My Response: How can I best demonstrate empathy toward a struggling friend?
Thought to Apply: We are born helpless. … We need others physically, emotionally, intellectually; we need them if we are to know anything, even ourselves.—C. S. Lewis(British scholar, Christian writer)
Adapted from Daily Disciples (Promise, 2001)
Prayer for the Week: Dear Father, show me how to best encourage and challenge my friends to deeper faith; show me how to support them during their struggles.