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

You had a terrible day. You’re totally down. You failed a quiz, tripped and tossed your tray across the lunchroom, and forgot that wear-your-clothes-backwards day was tomorrow, not today. You feel like crawling into a deep hole. So answer this: What would you like your friends to do?

(a) Yell “Bye-bye, Bozo!” as you head out from school.

(b) Promise to listen to your sob story next month when they aren’t so busy.

(c) Ding your doorbell every ten minutes to remind you how stupid you are.

You would dig further down into your hole if your buddies tried any of those tactics on you. So whenever you notice a friend is down, you have the chance to act better. You can treat them the way you want to be treated. Try these ideas:

Show concern. Luis found that the first step to helping his hurting friend was letting himself feel the same hurt. Feeling for his friend kicked him into action.

Be available. Matt found that more than anything, his hurting friend needed his T-I-M-E.

Make the first move. Renee figured out that calling her friend first—just to say hi, even when they weren’t planning something—made her friend feel wanted.

Pray. Brian took a bold leap when he asked his friend how he could pray for him. Besides inviting God to help, Brian sent a loud message to his friend: He cared.

Remind your friend he matters to God. Kaitlin noticed that her friend wasn’t exactly remembering her great worth to God. So she reminded her that God thinks she’s lovable, valuable, and capable. Even non-Christian friends are created in God’s image—and are people for whom Christ died.

Talk. Lots of kids who feel down say they can’t talk to their parents about their problems, hurts, and decisions. Kim let his friend talk about his problems. But Kim also invited his friend over to his house so he could open up to Kim’s parents if he wanted to.

When someone you care about feels down-and-out, the most important thing you can share is you. Take those tips, use them, and you’ll build a caring relationship that will help your friend feel less alone!

TALK: What’s the best thing you can offer a friend who feels down in the dumps?

PRAY: Lord, help each of us to be a loving and sensitive friend to those around us who are hurting.

ACT: Think of a friend who is hurting. Work on a plan to help your friend feel less alone.