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I found myself looking into the teary eyes of my best friend with a complete loss for words. There she was - my closest confidante since middle school - sitting across my kitchen table, telling me she was a “loser.” And, as she detailed specific moments of the past six months of her life, I could tell she felt deep shame and guilt about some of her choices. And - although she is an outstanding mother of three, working two jobs to make ends meet - I had no idea how to make her feel better. Why? Because truthfully, some of her actions would have sent me spinning down the spiral of shame myself.
So, here I am in this moment with no words, and I’m thinking to myself: Is this the time to let her know that I disapprove? Should I tell her how disappointed I am? Is now the time to point out how horribly wrong I think she has been?
But I didn’t speak. First, I simply closed my eyes and asked God to use me, to take over my words, and to speak through me. And, guess what? The conversation immediately changed. I was able to speak grace, love and hope into her heart. By simply reminding her of where her true source of love and worth resides, she was able to begin the healing process.
In Proverbs, the Bible teaches us that: “Kind words are like honey - sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.” Proverbs 16:24 NLT Even though I’ve read this Scripture several times, it never fully registered with me until this day. Our words have the power to not only build-up our loved ones, but also lead them back to the loving arms of our Savior.
Have a friend or loved one who needs some encouragement? Know someone who feels down on themselves? Maybe you have a friend who is battling depression, maybe struggling in a new job. No matter what they are dealing with, why not share some hope and encouragement with them today? Send them a quick, encouraging Ecard or small gift to let them know you care. Above all, speak kindness to them because as we learn in Proverbs 12:18 TLV, “Reckless speech is like the thrusts of a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.”
And what about my friend? Well, I recently sent her the book 100 Days to Brave by Annie F. Downs, and we now catch up each week to talk through the devotions. After all, we are all works in progress, and I never know when I might be the teary-eyed friend sitting across that table, feeling lost and ashamed. But, if we can continue to encourage each other as we grow in faith, then I am confident that I will be able to count on her to remind me of His loving arms. And that is truly what friendship is all about.
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Therefore encourage one another
and build each other up as you are already doing.
1 Thess 5:11 CSB