God created us for deep, nourishing friendships. But, do you ever shy away from these relationships? How do you even have life-giving friendships? Today, I’d like to share one way to develop how we can be “a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” (Proverbs 18:24)
Hebrews 10:25 NLT
And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.
This scripture doesn't just remind you to go to church. It’s also about encouraging other believers.
Encouraging here in the Greek is to "make a call" when "close-up and personal." It refers to believers offering up evidence that stands up in God's court.
What do we encourage each other about?
Encouraging believers is about giving them evidence of the goodness of God. It’s about letting them know they aren’t alone. It’s about showing them the unconditional love of God.
How can we do that?
Nothing says love like time. When you go out of your way to spend time with one another, it shows love. We show each other we’re not alone in this journey.
Time allows you the room to have those deeper conversations. Time allows you to show you care. Time gives you, well, time to connect.
Find out what they need.
It can be easy to assume what someone needs. Our assumptions are not always correct.
Here are some ideas:
“What would be truly helpful to you at this moment?”
“Is there anything I can pray with you about?”
And, then pray for them at that moment. Don’t wait. If you’re anything like me, you may forget to pray for them. I’ve been trying to make a habit of praying at that moment.
Remind each other of the goodness of God.
Share encouraging stories.
There’s nothing like an encouraging text or call from a friend out of nowhere saying I was thinking about you. You can be that friend.
I want to share one last aspect of encouraging that is vital.
Romans 12:15 ESV
Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.
I love how this scripture doesn’t say to help those weeping rejoice. That seems like what they need if they’re sad right?
Sometimes, what people need is time to release the pain.
Crying can be just that.
Crying is a physical way to let go of the pain.
I was married once before (I’ve written some blog posts on it before. Here’s one of them. In my first marriage, I had two miscarriages. When I found out I lost my first baby during an ultrasound. No heartbeat. I was in shock.
The doctor immediately took me over to the wall chart and logically explained how far along I should be when my little peanut passed away.
I fainted–right on the spot.
After that, I did not allow my self to morn. I never cried. Even when I lay in the emergency room as they took my baby away. No tears.
I kept believing everything was going to be ok somehow. I had had a friend go through the same thing and their baby was ok. I hoped for the same thing.
Two years later. I was in the doctor's office. Ultrasound. No heartbeat. I immediately burst into tears. And, I didn’t stop it this time. I let it flow. I allowed myself to mourn.
I say all that to say, it was an easier healing process after the second miscarriage. Why?
I allowed myself to cry. Other’s cried with me. Healing came.
If someone had come to me and tried to cheer me up with thoughts like, “your baby is with Jesus now.” It wouldn’t have helped at that moment.
Now, do I believe my babies are happy, healthy and living a life of joy in Heaven? Absolutely! And it brings me great comfort now. But, that’s not what I needed in the morning process.
When we encourage others, we need to be sensitive to the timing. Sometimes, they just need a hug and know you’re there for them if they need it.
If we have a friend going through something, be there for them in whatever capacity you can be. Sometimes, just a simple text letting them know you’re thinking about them and praying for them can hit the spot.
You don’t have to have all the answers.
A hug or a shoulder to cry on can be powerful healing tools.
What is one thing you can do this week to encourage a friend in need?
Are Close Friendships Worth The Effort? Or, Is The Pain Not Worth It? Part 1 blog post by HeatherLBunch.com
Are Close Friendships Worth The Effort? Or, Is The Pain Not Worth It? Part 2 blog post by HeatherLBunch.com
Uninvited: Living Loved When You Feel Less Than, Left Out, and Lonely - Book by Lysa TerKeurst
Uninvited - Study Guide by Lysa TerKeurst
Uninvited - DVD sessions by Lysa TerKeurst
You might consider going through this study with a friend. Or, someone you want to consider growing closer to. I went through this study with my dear friend, Karen. We grew even closer as we were open and vulnerable with one another.
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