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I’ve been away from my family for the past month for a work contract.  It is the first time I’ve been away from my wife and 4 kids for this long.  And I’ll be gone for 2 more months.

friend-handshakeThe thing which strikes me is how amazing my friends have been to family while I’m gone.

They’re visiting my wife to make sure she’s not lonely.  They’re baby-sitting so that my wife can go run errands (Who knew it would be so hard to get grocery shopping done?)  They’re making her dinner and inviting her over to talk about decorating (of all things…).  They’re setting up play-dates so my kids aren’t alone.

It truly makes my heart full to know that my church community and other friends are helping so much.

Jesus said, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

Man, do I have some good friends!

I want to write this article so that others can be inspired to love their friends as Jesus commanded, but to be frank, I’m writing this out of sheer thankfulness to God and joy from all His good blessings.

So try out some of these things so you can obey Christ and love those who are close to you.

1. A Friend Visits the Lonely

There are those around us who have a hard time being around people.  Maybe it’s because of social pressures, maybe because of a busy work schedule.  Whatever it is, some people are very lonely.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 says this:

Two are better than one,
    because they have a good return for their labor:
If either of them falls down,
    one can help the other up.
But pity anyone who falls
    and has no one to help them up.
Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.
    But how can one keep warm alone?”

2. A Friend Helps the Overwhelmed

Think of the single-mother, the widower, the family with young kids also taking care of their elderly parent.

Proverbs 17:17 – “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.”

3. A Friend Listens to the Burdened

friend-sitting-in-a-carEveryone has struggles in their lives.  Some people have it much worse than others.  Sometimes a listening ear is all that someone needs.

Proverbs 17:22 says, “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.”

4. A Friend Encourages the Downhearted

Sometimes your friend just needs to be reminded of the good that God has given him/her.  Remind them that God is good and that we don’t always understand why we have to struggle.  But the encouragement of a friend might be all they need.

“Perfume and incense bring joy to the heart, and the pleasantness of a friend springs from their heartfelt advice.”  Proverbs 27:9

and

As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.”  Proverbs 27:17

5. A Friend Gives to the Needy

And on occasion, sometimes your friend just needs some kind of material help – whether money for rent because their car broke down and they had to pay to fix it or they lost their job or some other crisis.

1 Corinthians 10:24 says, “No one should seek their own good, but the good of others.”

—–

So love your friend like my friends have loved me and my family.  Love them like Jesus loved us.

It’s a wonderful thing to know that someone has your back.

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