Sometimes I receive something I want to share with all my friends and family. And I want to selfishly keep forever, this is one of those things.
“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in
prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.”
Romans 12:12-13 (NIV)
I remember sitting in the smelly middle school gym like
it was yesterday.
I’d survived the awkward and much-dreaded moments of
changing into my PE uniform in the girls’ locker room. And now I sat on the
hard bleachers listening to the squeak of tennis shoes, the uneven cadence of
bouncing balls, the teacher’s sharp whistle and the girls laughing behind me.
weren’t laughing with me. That would have meant I was accepted, wanted and
invited in to be a part of their group.
No, they were laughing at me.
I was the subject of their gossip. I was the punch line
of their jokes.
And it hurt.
I imagine you know that hurt too. Change the scenery
and people, and this same hurt can be found in most of our lives:
When your coworkers all make plans to go to lunch, but
you weren’t invited.
When that other preschool mom says, “Several of us moms
are concerned with how aggressive your child seems on the playground.”
When everyone else’s social media makes marriage look
dreamy and uber-romantic as you’re crying yourself to sleep.
Then a friend steps in with a gentle smile and a few
simple words of encouragement and suddenly you’re not alone.
I want to be that friend for you today.
In the midst of whatever made your heart feel knocked
off-kilter, can I whisper what I believe are the 5 best things one can say to a
friend? And then might you give the gift of saying these things to a friend
This list is from our key verses, Romans 12:12-13, in a
section titled “Love.”
1. “You’re wonderful.”
(Romans 12:12, “Be
joyful in hope …”)
The world is quick to tell us all the ways we fall
short. We are hyperaware of our faults and frailties.
So, what a precious gift to remind a friend of specific
ways she’s a wonderful friend, a wonderful mom, a wonderful Jesus girl, a
wonderful wife, a wonderful co-worker, a wonderful person.
2. “Me too.”
(Romans 12:12, “…
patient in affliction …”)
What a blessing to remind a friend we all have
afflictions, hurts, faults and tender places. We all get sick both emotionally
The patient friend freely gives grace because she so
desperately needs it herself. “Me too” acknowledges I’m no better than you, but
together we are stronger. It’s such a loving and disarming admission that we’re
all in this together.
3. “I’ll pray.”
(Romans 12:12, “…
faithful in prayer.”)
Wouldn’t it be wonderful to tell a friend you will
absolutely be faithful in praying for her? I have someone who prays for me
faithfully and even texts me Scriptures she’s praying.
But here’s what I really love about her. She
doesn’t just pray about my situations: She
prays me through them.
4. “I’ll share.”
(Romans 12:13, “Share
with the Lord’s people who are in need …”)
When we notice a need in a friend’s life, might we be
willing to step in and be part of the solution?
I have a friend who lost every possession she owned due
to a chemical spill in her home. So, we threw her a “Job Party” (like the man
in the Bible). Each of us brought a few things to help her family start over.
We didn’t come close to fully meeting their financial
needs. But we helped build a foundation of restoration and gave this family the
assurance God was working on their behalf.
5. “Come over.”
(Romans 12:13, “Practice
Welcoming a friend inside the sacred space of
our home is such a needed gesture. There’s just something about relationships
that are less pixelated when we get eye-to-eye, voice-to-voice and talk. Really talk.
Over broken bread we share broken hearts. And then we
celebrate the parts of us that are still intact. We reach across the table and
across our differences to grab hold of the glorious bond of friendship.
Yes, these are 5 great things to say to a friend.
And I’ve found as we purposefully ease the loneliness
ache in others, we will see it is beautifully eased in us.
Dear Lord, thank You for the gift of friendship. Please
show me who I can encourage today. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Hebrews 13:16, “And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with
such sacrifices God is pleased.” (NIV)