Encourage Your Friends

John 15:12-13 NIV

"My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends."

Part of loving someone is helping him get through the hard times. So after you have prayed for someone, you can go and encourage him. Telling someone you have prayed for him gives him courage. But standing beside him through his trial gives him even more. Knowing someone cares gives a person courage. it gives him strength to carry on.

You can't stop someone's divorce, or cure his cancer, or keep him from being laid off from work, or find him another job, or pay all his bills, or stop his pain. But you can let him know that you are there. You can let him know you are praying for him and that you care. You can turn off that television set and go visit someone who is having a hard time. You can forget about your own chores and show up at that divorced woman's house and mow her lawn and handle those little repairs she needs so desperately around the house... or just take her children out for the afternoon and give her a few hours of quiet. You can go with a friend to the doctor's office to get his test results. Having a friend in the waiting room makes it so much easier. There are so many things you can do for your friends if you'll just "lay down your life" - put aside your personal desires and activities in favor of doing something for your friend.

Another way to encourage someone is to ask for his help. Some years ago, I was in the hospital for surgery for suspected cancer. In fact, I learned after the fact that prior to surgery, my doctor thought I was a dead woman with only weeks to live. Understandably, I was deeply disturbed by my situation. The night before the surgery, a friend came to visit me in the hospital. but instead of talking about my situation, she asked me for advice about something that was happening in her life. We spent nearly an hour discussing her problem and sorting it out. Suddenly, she apologized for troubling me with her problem at a time like that. But I told her, "No. Don't apologize. You have helped me greatly by allowing me to turn my focus off of myself and toward you and your needs. Thank you for encouraging me so much by asking for my advice."

How much does it encourage you when someone comes to you and asks for your advice? How much does it encourage you to know someone trusts you that much? How much does it encourage you when someone confides in you? God set the example for us with Abraham. When He was about to destroy Sodom, He confided in Abraham, telling him what He was about to do. (Genesis 18) And He allowed Abraham to give his opinion on the matter. Notice, He did not confide in Lot. God confided in Abraham. Because just as He says in Psalm 25:14 (NIV), "The LORD confides in those who fear Him."

Follow the Lord's example. Encourage your friends by letting them know you're there, that you are praying for them. Encourage your friends by "laying down your life" for them. and encourage them by turning to them for help.