Being There When Your Friends Are Down
Bible Reading: Galatians 6:1-5
Share each other’s troubles and problems, and in this way obey the law of Christ. (Galatians 6:2)
“I’m really frustrated with this friend of mine,” Jamal fumed. “His parents are divorcing, but he hardly talks about it. I want to be there for him, but I’m never sure if I’m butting in.”
That’s a problem you face when you want to be an available friend. Figure on this: People seldom blurt, “I need help.” But you can be sure it’s time to be available when someone talks or acts in a way that shows any of these signs:
- Disappointment. This happens when hopes or expectations aren’t met. Most disappointments are pretty minor, but they still sting.
- Discouragement. When disappointments pile up, they often lead to discouragement. You’re seeing discouragement when your friend’s hope and confidence shrink and he or she drifts through life half-heartedly.
- Depression. A friend who is continually discouraged might slide into long periods of dejection, sadness, and withdrawal—signs of depression.
People weighed down with disappointment, discouragement, and depression might be all around you, yet you still might not see it. Why? Like Jamal’s friend, they cover up and bottle up. But the more you become known as a caring person, the more those friends will open up and share their feelings.
You can always ask someone, “How are you...really?” You can spot those signs mentioned above. But it’s also helpful to simply notice events that trigger disappointment, discouragement, and depression. People need an available friend when they have faced anything like the following:
- an unresolved conflict with someone
- separation from a loved one or a recent breakup of a relationship
- parents fighting, separated, or recently divorced
- failing classes, getting cut from a team, or struggling financially
- physical illness or injury
There’s no doubt that God invites your hurting friends to tell Him their cares and troubles (see 1 Peter 5:7). Because God cares about us, He says we can come to Him, and He promises to help (see Hebrews 4: 16). But God has another strategy to help: inserting you into the lives of struggling friends.
REFLECT: Who in your world needs you right now to be an available friend?
PRAY: Tell God today that you are available to minister his care and love this week to a hurting friend.