Friendship is so important isn’t it? Having a community of people around you to support, encourage, laugh and cry with. Sometimes our friends go through hardships, pain, and sorrow. In that moment, when they need us the most, here are three ways to encourage your friend through hardship.
Let them know they are heard: Fully listen to what they are saying. Instead of rushing to give your advice, sometimes all a friend needs is for you to just sit there quietly and acknowledge that your hear them.
This is something my mom recently taught me. She said “Sometimes, as a friend, you need to slow down the feedback, and just listen to what they are saying. Sometimes they just need to hear ‘yea, that sucks and I’m sorry'”. Honestly, it has made me listen to the conversation more actively. Guess you can never stopping learning from your momma!
James 1:19My dear brothers and sisters, be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to get angry.
Proverbs 18:13 What a shame, what folly, to give advice before listening to the facts!
Let them know they are loved: In the midst of hardships, knowing you are loved is extremely important-your friend needs to know they are loved. Through the ups and the downs that life brings, if there is one thing that should remain constant, it would be love. Praying with someone can be so comforting and praying for someone is very powerful.
I remember quite vividly going through a rough patch of anxiety in my life, and how it felt to have someone pray with me, and pray for me. I’ve had phone call prayers at 2am and that is a true act of love-I felt it. Sometime’s love is sending “checking in” texts, it’s taking them out for coffee, and yes, it is most definitely praying with them…whenever they need it.
Proverbs 17:17 A friend loves at all times…
Let them know you support them: Stand by your friend, build them up. When it comes to encouraging your friends through a hard time, there should be a non-judgmental space. This is where you step in to empathize, validate and support them. You can do all of this from a distance too, it’s possible that they need their space, or you don’t live near them. Simple texts, calls, cards, or even little gifts are a great way to show support!
I had a group of gals in college, and we were pretty tight knit. We did everything together-some of us even shared a dorm. You could tell it was exam week when we were all tense, and all we did was study. I specifically remember a friend bringing me a Starbucks coffee while I studied, and that just about lit up my world. Even the smallest gestures of support can really encourage a friend in need.
Ecclesiastes 4:9-10Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.
Jesus is an example of the greatest kind of friend. He’s honest, loyal, forgiving, and faithful. Just as we grow in our friendships here on earth, Christ wants to have a friendship with us. Jesus loved us so much, that He died on the cross for us-He wanted His friends to spend eternity in Heaven with Him. You can grow your relationship with Him, by spending time in the greatest love letter there ever will be…the Bible. He is listening to you, and He wants you to know that you are loved, and supported.