Turning the Dark Clouds Away
Bible Reading: 1 Thessalonians 3:1-8
We sent him to strengthen you, to encourage you in your faith, and to keep you from becoming disturbed by the troubles you were going through. 1 Thessalonians 3:2-3
Everyone feels gloomy sometimes. But when you think a friend might be depressed and with thoughts of suicide, it’s crucial that you act lovingly and prayerfully. People who entertain passing thoughts of suicide usually feel incredibly isolated inside. They often hurt for lack of someone who cares deeply about them, invests time in them, and regards them as significant. When someone you care about battles the despair of aloneness, the most important thing you can share is you. Here are several ways to develop a caring relationship that will help your friend feel less alone:
Be concerned for your friend. The best way to deal with a hurting friend is to develop your relationship with him or her and demonstrate your interest and concern.
Be available to your friend. For most hurting people, love is spelled T-I-M-E. Look for opportunities to spend time with your friend.
Keep in touch with your friend. An occasional phone call just to say hello and ask how your friend is doing shows that you care.
Pray for your friend. Ask God to show you ways to build your relationship and meet some of your friend’s needs for love and acceptance.
Affirm your friend’s identity as a child of God. Depressed people have forgotten their basic value and worth to God. If your friend is a Christian, remind him that he is loved, valued, and useful to God. If your friend isn’t a Christian, she is still created in God’s image, someone for whom Christ died. Look for ways to affirm your friend’s value and worth to God.
Try to instill hope in your friend. The best way to instill hope in hurting people is by focusing on feelings instead of arguing over how they think. Communicate hope by feeling your friend’s sorrow and by comforting him or her.
Talk with your friend. Many discouraged, depressed students report that they can’t talk to their parents about problems, hurts, and decisions. When you are with your friend, allow her to talk about her life and difficulties. Be sure to respect your friend’s opinions without judgment or condemnation, even if they are questionable. It’s vital that your friend is free to verbalize his feelings to someone who cares.
REFLECT: Think of a friend who is hurting. What can you do to make your friend feel less alone?
PRAY: Lord, help me be a loving and sensitive friend today to those around me who are hurting.