"Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one for another. Love each other as brethren, be sympathetic, be courteous, not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing, but contrariwise blessing, knowing that ye are called thereto, that ye might inherit a blessing." ~ 1 Peter 3:8-9
We all know that God has called us to be a blessing, but so often, we get totally pre-occupied with the myriad details of our busy lives that we don't take the time to look for ways to bless others. Have you ever thought of praying that God would make you a blessing?? Then just open your eyes, for He will bring people across your path that you can bless!
Today I had an opportunity to have lunch with a lady who is hurting and lonely. In the course of conversation, she began to share her heart, revealing some areas of deep hurt, shame and regret in her life. After sharing very transparently with me, she expressed fear that I would not want to be her friend anymore. My heart went out to her, and I assured her that I would still be her friend, still meet her for lunch, still look at her just the same!
On the way home, I began to reflect on our lunch and to think about how many people there are all around us who are secretly hurting, lonely, sad, struggling. How can we be a blessing to them?? Here are a few thoughts:
- Be available.
This is not always easy or possible for busy, homeschooling mothers, but as much as we can, we should try to be available to spend time with those who need a listening ear. We may not be able to go out to lunch, depending on the season of life we are in, but we may be able to open up our homes or give encouragement over the phone or via email.
- Listen attentively.
It is difficult to focus entirely on what another person is saying in this day of distractions, with people all around, cell phones going off, etc. But one way we can show the worth of a person is by giving them our undivided attention. So, whenever possible, we should attempt to focus solely on the person we are with, listening with our eyes, ears and heart.
- Don't judge.
This lady has had a very difficult life. She has suffered much at the hands of others. I don't know what I would have done if I had been in the same set of circumstances. I can't assume I would have made better choices. My job is just to listen compassionately and make her feel loved and accepted and of value. God loves her every bit as much as He does me!
- Love unconditionally.
As I said, she has repeatedly expressed concern that I won't want to be her friend anymore if I know certain details about her life. I know that God knows all about me and loves me anyway! It is my goal to love others with the same agape love. I know this lady needs to feel that unconditional love and acceptance more than anything. As I show her a glimmer of that kind of love, maybe it will give me an opportunity to introduce her to the only One truly able to love her unconditionally.
- Offer tidbits of wise counsel.
I say tidbits, because it is easy to overwhelm someone with advice, or to make them feel like you are trying to "fix them" or preach to them. I don't want to push my new friend away! But, I don't want to miss any natural opportunities to share with her the love of Christ and the wisdom of following his principles. I want to give her Hope and not let her continue operating on the basis of the world's wisdom. Only God's principles offer true Freedom from bondage!
- Pray for wisdom!
I kept praying that God would give me the words to say and would show me when to speak and when to be silent. I wanted to be faithful to share the Words of Life with her -- but I knew I had to be careful not to give her more than she was ready for. Only God can show us what to say and when.
I am truly grateful for this opportunity to demonstrate the love of God and to be a friend to this woman who really needs a friend! She has no idea of her true worth! Is God opening the door for you to bless someone who is lonely, hurting, discouraged, and who needs a friend?
"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." -- John 15:13