Bible Reading: Ephesians 4:25-29
Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them. Ephesians 4:29
THERE’S A TIME and a place for every expression of friendship. Sometimes cheery thoughts and words help lift a friend’s spirits. But at other times they make your friend want to slug you. Another translation of today’s key verse tells you to use your words to build people up and be helpful to them “according to the need of the moment, that it may give grace to those who hear” (Ephesians 4:29, NASB). It’s important to tune into what your friend needs at the moment.
For each scenario below, circle the response that you feel best meets your friend’s “need of the moment.”
1. My friend who seems discouraged but has said nothing needs:
- Time just to get over it
- Someone to care enough to listen
- To hear that no one likes a loser
2. My friend who has suffered a serious loss and is hurting needs:
- Someone to hurt with him or her
- To stuff the hurt and get
- Pain medication
- A place to hide and hurt alone on with life
3. My friend who is struggling in a class and is facing a big exam needs:
- To get smarter
- To learn how to cheat for the exam without getting caught
- Someone to help him or her study
- To sign up for easier classes
Instead of getting stuck in one way of reacting to a friend-always whipping out a joke or busting loose with some personal experience-take a few seconds to think through some better options. Being a loving, helpful friend means being alert to what your friends are going through and determining just what they need at that moment.
REFLECT: What is your usual reaction to a friend who is hurting? What are some other options?
PRAY: Ask God today to help you develop the discernment to be a supportive friend when and how your friends need you most.