Bible Reading: Ecclesiastes 4:9-12
A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Ecclesiastes 4:12
“When my mom had cancer, my Sunday school teacher took a lot of time for me,” Trisha recalls. “I don’t know how I would have gotten through everything without her help. My mom couldn’t pay much attention to me, but Sheila listened. She made me feel like I mattered.”
Talk about it: When you are hurting, what do you need in a true friend?
Friendship isn’t so much about doing things as it is about being someone. Doing nice things for your friends is important, but doing feels fake unless it flows from who you are as a true friend.
Available friends have three don’t-leave-home-without-them qualities:
First, an available friend shows interest. You actually care about your friend and what he or she faces—enough to put time into your friendship and get involved in your friend’s world. To show interest in your friend, don’t make your friend fight for space in your schedule. Speak up. Say to your friend, “I’m here for you, and with God’s help we’ll get through this together.”
Second, an available friend listens. That means more than just digging out your earwax. Listening is how you understand what your friend is feeling. If you don’t really listen, the time you spend with your friend doesn’t mean much. Make sure you understand. Ask questions like, “What do you mean by that?” or “Why is that important to you?” to draw your friend out. Don’t interrupt your friend or jump in to finish his or her sentences.
Third, an available friend is safe. Friends won’t open up if they fear that you’ll blab whatever they share. Being safe means keeping information private. Promise your friends you won’t share what they tell you unless they want you to. Mean it. And keep your word. If it’s something that an adult needs to know, such as if your friend is being hurt by someone, offer to go with your friend to tell an adult. Don’t share secrets with others even if you leave out your friend’s name. People figure things out.
As you tell God that you want to be an available friend, he will teach you how. After all, he’s the one who does friendship best!
TALK: How can you grow in your skills as an available friend? PRAY: Ask God to help you grow where you need it most!
ACT: If you’re shy about being available to a hurting friend, talk as a family about how you can work together to help people.