Friends in a World of Hurt
Bible Reading: 2 Corinthians 1:3-7
When others are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. 2 Corinthians 1:4
Here’s some tough news: Scan any crowd of kids and you’ll see pain all around you. You’re almost guaranteed to see people struggling with broken friendships, a serious illness, the death of a friend or family member, or a strained situation at home. You can be sure they face the losses and disappointments of everyday life-earning a bad grade, losing a library book, or being cut from a team. So what can you do to ease the pain and hurt?
You’re on the right track if any of these ideas flutter through your brain: Be available. Speak encouraging words. Pray for your friend. Do acts of kindness. Point your friend to helpful Scripture passages.
All of those responses are great. Yet God has one more way to use you to ease the grief or trouble of a hurting friend. Maybe you can understand it best through this illustration:
Suppose you love to skateboard. Yet one day you prove the most basic law of science: What goes up must come down. And even though you soar into the air when you hit the jump and get three whole seconds of hang time, you rudely slam to the ground.
Take a vote: When your best friend rushes to your side to cheer you up, which of the following responses would make you feel better?
(a) Your friend zonks and goes to sleep while you’re talking.
(b) Your friend tells you how dumb you were-and how dumb skateboarding is.
(c) Your friend gets steaming mad and threatens to sue the guy who sold you the skateboard.
(d) Your friend listens carefully, then says something like, “I’m sorry this happened to you. I feel bad that you are hurting. I’m here for you, dude.”
If you went for that last option, you have a good idea how God wants to involve you in bringing comfort to a hurting friend. Romans 12:15 encourages you to share the sorrow of those who feel sad.
When you identify with the pain and hurt of a friend-speaking kind words and showering your friend with care-God miraculously reduces your friend’s pain. And that’s a Christlike thing to do.
TALK: Who around you is hurting? What can you do about it?
PRAY: God, give us opportunities to heal the sadness of others by sharing their pain.
ACT: Scan that crowd of hurting people around you. Plan to help someone today by offering comfort.