That's why today is the third part of what seems to be a series-within-a-series, which has been a good thing!
This might be my favorite topic, though, because it's what I do best: encourage.
Today I want to write about encouraging our friends. I am an encourager, and I love to encourage others. I also need encouragement myself, as affirming words are my love language.
Proverbs 12:25 says this in the New Living Translation,
Worry weighs a person down;That is the truth, isn't it? Worry weighs us down, spiritually, emotionally, and yes, even physically (just google the number of illnesses exacerbated by anxiety and stress, and you'll see what I mean). Having a friend speak or write encouraging words lessens our worry and lightens our load, even if only for a short time.
an encouraging word cheers a person up.
The apostle Paul said it this way in his first letter to the church at Thessalonica:
So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing.
That's pretty clear as well. We are to build one another up, not tear one another down. Besides, it is much more fun to encourage rather than discourage.
I want to mention that not all words are encouraging, and not all friends are true friends. This verse in the New Living Translation speaks volumes to that:
There are “friends” who destroy each other, but a real friend sticks closer than a brother.
This verse reminds me that there are people who seem hell-bent on destroying others. I haven't written about several of my most painful friendship experiences, and frankly I'm getting cold feet about writing about them at all. If you think of me, please pray that if God wants me to write the story, that He gives me confirmation. If you've had a painful friendship experience, and you need to know you are not alone, please leave me a comment on this post. Your words may be what I need to press on.
How do we encourage our friends? We text them and let them know we're thinking of them. We call them to chat. We send them cards just because. We take dinner over when we know they've had a tough day (if we're blessed to live nearby). We pay attention and we listen and we cry with them and grieve with them and rejoice with them. That's what encouraging our friends looks like.
To read part 1, click here; part 2, click here.
To read the introductory post and find links for my whole #write31days series, click here.