Friday, October 09, 2015

Day 9: What does the Bible say? Part 2 {31 Days of Friendship}

What does the Bible say about friendship?

I didn't realize until I started to make a list of verses that the Bible says a whole lot about friendship. In fact, I've divided it up for my own purposes into five posts for the five Fridays of October during this 31 days of writing about friendship adventure. You can find part 1 here.

Today I want to talk about words. Specifically, the words friends say to one another.

What's one of the best things about having a friend? Well, at least for many women, it's to have someone to talk to, right? Someone besides our family members, that is. We've already determined that the Bible prioritizes love, unity, and loyalty among people. But how do we often exemplify those characteristics? Through our actions, of course, but also our words.

Let's look at what the Bible has to say about what we say:

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

We are to build each other up, not tear each other down. What is gossip but the tearing down of others so that we feel better about ourselves? Or playing the comparison game (which no one ever wins, by the me on this one). Gossip is wrong (see this website for a long list of verses against gossiping and lying), and so is unkind talk.

I learned the first part of James 3:6 when I was a little girl, and it has stuck with me: The tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. That is truth, my friends. We must watch what we say, and I'll even venture so far as to say how we say it. Tone is often misconstrued in real life; online it can become much, much worse if something we write is misconstrued or misread or tone is misinterpreted.

What should we do to build one another up? Let's look at this verse:

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.

I love encouraging others. It's a spiritual gift of mine. I think it's one part of what makes me a good friend. But I'm sad to say I wasn't always so encouraging, and even now I have my moments of selfishness and ingratitude and yes, jealousy. However, I think if you were to ask friends of mine if I am an encourager, you'd get more yes answers than nos.

Why do we encourage and build one another up? Let's take a look at this gem from Proverbs:

Worry weighs a person down; an encouraging word cheers a person up.

Who reading this doesn't worry? Anyone? Anyone? (Bueller? Frye?). Yeah, I thought so. We ALL worry. Probably why Jesus told us not to in the Sermon on the Mount (see Matthew 6:25-34 for His words about worry).

So if we know a friend of ours is worrying, what are we to do? Build her up. Offer encouragement. Call. Write an email or text. Stop by if she lives close and give her a hug. And let me know how it goes, won't you? You can comment here or email me at freshbrewedwriter (at) gmail.

Encouraging words are vital to friendship, and vital to our spiritual lives. Don't let this opportunity to build up a sister or brother in Christ pass you by.

To read the introductory post and find links for the whole #write31days series, click here.

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