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Encouraging Friends

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Lori Dixon recalls a memory when she sought help for a career transition. We need to leave our friends feeling encouraged and stronger after they ask for advice.

For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with him. Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing. (1 Thessalonians 5:9-11 ESV)

I’ve heard the story of how crabs will pull each other to their death if one is trying to escape a deadly boiling pot of water. This too is true of so many coworkers and friends.

The last few months, I have been praying about making a possible career change and finally decided to pass it by two different friends. One right away exclaimed that I was meant for this opportunity and would surely succeed. The other hummed and hawed about me walking away from security and a possible pension . . . no matter how I felt. ‘It isn’t about feeling,’ he said, ‘it’s about practicality.’

Both truly were concerned and wanted what was best for me. Yet as I hung up my phone after the second call, I was deflated. My hubby and I are praying and seeking the Lord’s will on what we are to do, but these friends’ different reactions were unsettling.

We need to hear counsel and bring any suggestions to the Lord. We also need to give our honest answer when friends call us for advice or to bounce off ideas. But when we do, we need to be sure that we leave them feeling encouraged and built up . . . not deflated.

Father, You have told us to be supportive and to help our friends. Iron sharpens iron and we need to sometimes brush up against those we love, but give us Your sweet Holy Spirit that we would leave our friends encouraged and stronger for having helped them. Amen!

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