Last week, I talked about my friend Darla. How I’ve known her for about 24 years, and we’ve been through a lot together and apart for a while. This week, I want to share Melanie with you. She’s another close friend, and it’s possible she and I have been through more in a shorter period of time, than Darla and I have. #familyisrelative #friendsascloseasfamily
After posting two weeks ago the first in this “series” (because who knows how long it will be), a friend called me to encourage me to show some “fight.” Bless her heart. Good friends are like good medicine––they help heal. Click to tweet #friendships #revelations
The flip side to that is that friends can wound with their words. That’s better than kisses from an enemy. Proverbs 27:6 “Wounds from a sincere friend are better than many kisses from an enemy.” Why is this true? Because friends are for us and should have our best interests at heart.
I was speaking with my editor who will help me publish my novel this year. She’s now beginning to work on it. I told her of another friend who rushed to publication without prior editing, and how the poor quality of the self-published book kept me from reviewing it. Because I didn’t want to give a bad review. I’d rather give no review at all than a bad one––especially to a first-time author who doesn’t have a large writing support system.
What I want to focus on this week is “how” to give encouragement and/or exhortation.
First, check your own heart. What’s your motivation? Job 4:3–5 says, “Surely you have instructed many. And you have strengthened weak hands. Your words have upheld him was stumbling. And you have strengthened the feeble knees. But now it comes upon you, and you are weary. It touches you, and you are troubled.” The speaker, Eliphaz, was one of Job’s three friends who came and sat with him for days in silence when they saw his condition. This is a lesson in how not to give encouragement.
If you read the whole book of Job, you’ll discover Eliphaz is one of the three friends whom God corrected. The only person God did not correct was the younger man, Elihu. Elihu kind of rebuked the three older, wiser friends.
What does it mean to “strengthen weak hands and feeble knees?” I believe in our modern context, that words of encouragement that meet the person where they are emotionally and lifts them up––those strengthen the person.
In the case of my friend who published herself without having anyone look at her manuscript, I sent her a long email, explaining to her how I used to be that way. I didn’t want anyone to see my novel before it was published. But, that’s so unwise. In the case of a book, the more eyeballs on it, the better it will become, because your friends and people who care about you will have your best interests at heart. It’s possible I wounded her with my email, but I wanted to make sure she understood how much I was trying to help her. I was constructive and instructive with my criticism, at least I tried to be. I even offered to edit future works of hers for the only fee of a breakfast out.
One more thing: I was being “real” in my post two weeks ago. Some of my frustrations came out. I’m a human being on this journey of life. When encouraging someone, remember verse 3: “…your words have upheld him who was stumbling.”
When someone is hurting, you don’t judge their wound. You try to heal it. They need uplifting, positive words that lift their spirits. Click to tweet #friendships #revelations
I have a friend, who recently told me some things about her origins. She had only recently learned them about herself. They were hard things to deal with, but I tried to encourage her. She’s adopted, like me, and has had a lot of the same issues that I’ve had…like rejection, a bad temper, etc. Do what you can. It’s all you can do. Help someone today. Click to Tweet #friendships #revelations
Finally, when I entered high school, which in my case, was when I was a sophomore, I began to understand the tease and how to give it back, without insult, and without rejection. During high school, I managed to find a small group of other girls who were Christians, of good character, and sweet natured. It was a blessed relief from the pain of junior high. Helping those with rejection issues to find a small group of loyal friends assists healing. Click to Tweet #amwriting #rejection #APD
A few weeks ago, I posted about the value of true friendships, and told you about a fickle friend from elementary school. I don’t know if this is true for you, but I suspect that to different degrees, everyone’s life is like this. Friends come and go in your life. They move into your life for a season, then either you or they, move out of your life.
What are your friends like? Do they encourage you? Do they support you? Do they influence you in a positive way? Do they go out of their way to help you in time of need? Do they remember important events in your life? If you answered “yes” to these questions, even most of them, then you’ve got some true friendships.
Proverbs 18:24 “A man who has friends must himself be friendly. But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”