“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.” Romans 12:12-13 (NIV)
I remember sitting in the smelly middle school gym like it was yesterday.
I’d survived the awkward and much-dreaded moments of changing into my PE uniform in the girls’ locker room. And now I sat on the hard bleachers, listening to the squeak of tennis shoes, the uneven cadence of bouncing balls, the teacher’s sharp whistle and the girls laughing behind me.
They weren’t laughing with me. That would have meant I was accepted, wanted and invited in to be a part of their group.
No, they were laughing at me. I was the subject of their gossip, the punchline of their jokes. And it hurt. I imagine you know that hurt, too. Change the scenery and people, and this same hurt can be found in most of our lives:
- When your coworkers all make plans to go to lunch, but you aren’t invited.
- When that other preschool mom says, “Several of us moms are concerned with how aggressive your child seems on the playground.”
- When everyone else’s social media makes their life look dreamy and perfect as you cry yourself to sleep.
But on the other hand, there are also those beautiful moments when a friend steps in with a gentle smile and a few simple words of encouragement, and suddenly you’re not alone.
I want to be that friend for you today.
In the midst of whatever has made your heart feel knocked off-kilter, can I whisper what I believe are the five best things one can say to a friend? And then might you give the gift of saying these things to a friend today?
This list is from our key verses, Romans 12:12-13.
1. “You’re wonderful.”
(Romans 12:12: “Be joyful in hope”)
The world is quick to tell us all the ways we fall short. We are hyper-aware of our faults and frailties. So what a precious gift to remind someone of specific ways they are a wonderful friend, a wonderful parent, a wonderful spouse, a wonderful coworker, a wonderful person. This will be more than just a compliment. This is helping infuse a little joy into their hope.
2. “Me too.”
(Romans 12:12: “patient in affliction”)
What a blessing to remind a friend that we all have afflictions, hurts, faults and tender places. We all get sick both emotionally and physically.
The patient friend freely gives grace because she so desperately needs it herself. “Me too” acknowledges I’m no better than you, but together, we are stronger. It’s such a loving and disarming admission that we’re all in this together.
3. “I’ll pray.”
(Romans 12:12: “faithful in prayer”)
Wouldn’t it be wonderful to tell a friend that every time you see a specific color, object or number, you’ll use it as a reminder to pray for him or her? And when you do, shoot that friend a quick text letting them know.
4. “I’ll share.”
(Romans 12:13a: “Share with the Lord’s people who are in need.”)
When we notice a need in a friend’s life, might we be willing to step in and be part of the solution?
Recently, I had a friend whose wedding plans were canceled due to COVID-19. My family pulled our resources together and had a small wedding planned for them in eight hours. It wasn’t the perfect day they envisioned, but we showed up for them in the best way we could to make their day beautiful. And us just simply seeing the need, and sharing what we had to make their day special, made the sweetest memories for my friend. She even later wrote in a post on her social media, “It was the most magical day.”
5. “Come over.”
(Romans 12:13b: “Practice hospitality.”)
Welcoming a friend inside the sacred space of our home is such a needed gesture. There’s just something about relationships that are less pixelated when we get eye to eye, voice to voice, and talk.
Over broken bread we share broken hearts. And then we celebrate the parts of us that are still intact.
We reach across the table and across our differences to grab hold of the glorious bond of friendship.
I’ve found that as we purposefully ease the loneliness ache in others, we will see it is beautifully eased in us.
Dear Lord, thank You for the gift of friendship I have with the people I get to do life with. I pray today that You would show me how to uplift, encourage and meet a need in those around me. Put someone on my heart today who needs a touch of love and encouragement. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
OUR FAVORITE THINGS
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FOR DEEPER STUDY
Hebrews 13:16, "And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased." (NIV)
Think of a friend in need. Of the five statements above, which one can you put into practice with him or her today?
Tell us how this encourages and equips you to connect on a deeper level with the people in your life: Leave a comment!
© 2021 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.
What We Believe
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