Friends in a World of Hurt
Bible Reading: 2 Corinthians 1:3-7
If they are sad, share their sorrow (Romans 12:15).
You see pain all around you. If you scan any crowd of your peers, you’re almost guaranteed to see students struggling in some area—broken or strained relationships, the death of a relative or friend, a romantic breakup, or a family separation or divorce. You can be sure they face the losses and disappointments of everyday life misplacing a textbook, earning a bad grade, losing a sporting event, or getting cut from a team.
What can you do to ease the pain and hurt?
You’re on the right track if your mind flies to any of these ideas—be available, speak encouraging words, pray for your friend, do acts of kindness, point your friend to helpful Scripture passages. All of those responses are great. Yet God has one more way to use you to ease the grief or trouble of a hurting friend. Maybe you can understand it best through this illustration.
Imagine you’re really down. Your girlfriend or boyfriend dumped you today, and you got slammed hard. You feel unwanted and unlovable—things couldn't be worse. You get together with your best friend and pour out your frustrations, anger, and feelings of betrayal. Eventually, you find words to explain exactly how badly it hurts. Which of the following responses by your friend would make you feel better?
(a) Your friend zonks and goes to sleep while you’re talking.
(b) Your friend gets steaming mad at your boyfriend or girlfriend and starts plotting total revenge on him or her.
(c) Your friend listens carefully—maybe even choking back tears—then says something like, ”I’m sorry this happened to you. I feel bad that you are hurting. I know this relationship meant a lot to you. I’m going to be here for you.”
If you went for the third option, you have a good idea of how God wants to involve you in bringing comfort to a hurting friend. Romans 12:15 encourages you to share the sorrow of those who feel sad.
When you identify with the pain and hurt of a friend—speaking compassionate words and showering your friend with care—God miraculously reduces your friend’s pain. It’s as if your compassionate caring allows you to pick up some of your friend’s pain. You make his or her burden lighter. And that’s a Christ like thing to do.
REFLECT: Who around you is hurting? What can you do about it?
PRAY: Pray for and watch for opportunities to decrease the sorrows of others by sharing their pain.