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
Nadine cried when a broken arm finished off her volleyball season. She had discovered she loved the game more than anything else she had ever tried. So she hated it when friends said, “I know how you feel.” They had no idea.
There’s a time and a place for every act or expression of friendship. Some cheery thoughts and words, for example, lift a friend’s spirits. Some efforts to assist bring real relief. But some things we say or do make our friends want to slug us for our unsympathetic stupidity.
Another translation of today’s key verse tells us to be helpful to people “according to the need of the moment” (Ephesians 4:29, NASB). It’s important to respond in a way that fits what our friend needs at the moment.
For each scene below, pick the response that you feel would best meet your friend’s “need of the moment.”
Your friend seems discouraged but has said nothing. Your friend needs:
b) to know that no one likes a loser
c) just get over it
d) someone to care enough to listen to him or her
Your friend has just suffered a serious loss and is hurting. Your friend needs:
a) to run off somewhere and hurt alone
b) to have a good cry and get better
c) to pretend the hurt doesn’t exist
d) Someone to hurt with him or her
Your friend has to study hard for a big exam. Your friend needs:
a) to get smarter
b) to settle for low grades
c) to learn how to cheat
d) someone to help him or her study for the exam
Instead of getting stuck in one way of reacting to a friend – always whipping out a joke, showing insincere sympathy, or going into detail about your 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 figuring out exactly what they need at that moment.
TALK: How do you usually react to a friend who is hurting? What are some of your other options?
PRAY: God, Help us know how to be supportive when and how our firends need us most.
ACT: Think of a hurting friend – and then think of a creative way to ease his or her pain.