Has anyone ever told you to, “Get over it” or “Just be positive?”
You know… I could sit here and be positive all day long. I’m a genuinely happy person. Some even say, “excessively happy” and “perky.” But when someone is hurting or has been treated poorly, I’m going to be there for them and let them complain and work through their hurt. THAT is a true friend. I’m NOT going to tell them to “just be positive,” or to “get over it.” (Well, unless it’s to that point that they just need to “get over it.” But that’s not what this story is about.)
What A Friend Needs
The Relationships Of Women
What a friend needs
You need to learn to cry with your friend when she is hurting. Do not compete with her about who had it worse. And if you find that you’re sharing your own examples, catch yourself and stop. Ask her if it makes her feel better to hear your story. If not, have her go on.
When your friend is going through something and needs to talk, let her talk it out. Don’t stifle her sharing.
Hold your tongue while she grumbles because at one point, she might work it out on her own, without you saying a word.
If she needs or wants you to share, then do so. But first you must actively listen, repeat back what you hear, and make sure you understand what she is saying. Try to feel her heart in her story.
Sometimes though, your friend doesn’t even care if you understand. She just needs a sounding board. In this case, don’t try to solve her problem. Just be present.
I was reading a blog that was about friendship. Women who have hardly ever had friends were posting their pain in the comments on the blog. The original author of the blog post works for the Lord. But she didn’t reply to many of the women who posted their hurts. My personal opinion is because she hasn’t been on the receiving end of this type of loneliness and didn’t know how to respond.
These women were not talking about friends being too busy to hang out – type of loneliness. They were talking about a NO FRIENDS kind of loneliness that others didn’t understand.
One woman had a very common story. It was one of trying to fit in and being kind to everyone. She wrote, “The women gossip about me behind my back and tell lies about me.” She tried to find out what she did to offend, but the more she worked on it and tried to apologize for anything she may have done, the worse the women behaved.
“Christians Aren’t Perfect, Just Forgiven” — John H. Armstrong
Then came that one sentence that broke my heart… “And these women are all from church.” Sadly, this is a common story. People in church are not immune from hurting others. I constantly hear of women not being accepted. The stories are very similar no matter what the surroundings. It happens at work, school, clubs, and yes, sadly, church. The reason is almost always the same – Jealousy.
Paul and James talk about various sorts of quarreling and jealousy. I put scripture references below that spoke to me while I was writing this blog post. There were things that came to mind as I read through the scriptures. I hope it will bless you!
I don’t have answers as to how to handle this other than to pray, and find a group of people with similar interests such as biking, hiking, playing cards, watching movies, etc. I can’t promise you anything, but if you post, I’ll pray for you.
Scripture References with my own commentary
2 Thessalonians 3:6-15 (NASB)
Warning Against Idleness
6 Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you [a]keep away from every brother who [b]leads an [c]unruly life and not according to the tradition which [d]you received from us. 7 For you yourselves know how you ought to [e]follow our example, because we did not act in an undisciplined manner among you, 8 nor did we eat [f]anyone’s bread [g]without paying for it, but with labor and hardship we kept working night and day so that we would not be a burden to any of you; 9 not because we do not have the right to this, but in order to offer ourselves as a model for you, so that you would [h]follow our example. 10 For even when we were with you, we used to give you this order: if anyone is not willing to work, then he is not to eat, either.
While these verses are in reference to earning your keep, the point it makes about being idle and busybodies is a reality that is often experienced at work, church, and in the home. Have you seen others chatting around the water cooler while you’re steadily working until it’s your formal break time? Or did you do your chores when you were young, while your sibling(s) didn’t? How about the small percentage of churchgoers volunteering and doing 100% of the work?
11 For we hear that some among you are leading an undisciplined life, doing no work at all, but acting like busybodies. 12 Now such persons we command and exhort in the Lord Jesus Christ to work in quiet fashion and eat their own bread. 13 But as for you, brethren, do not grow weary of doing good.
14 If anyone does not obey our [i]instruction [j]in this letter, take special note of that person [k]and do not associate with him, so that he will be put to shame. 15 Yet do not regard him as an enemy, but [l]admonish him as a brother.
1 Corinthians 3:3-4 (NIV)
The Church and Its Leaders
1 Brothers and sisters, I could not address you as people who live by the Spirit but as people who are still worldly—mere infants in Christ. 2 I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready. 3 You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere humans? 4 For when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” are you not mere human beings? 
While this verse is about The Church and its Leaders, it’s also about jealousy and quarreling among believers, the point holds true in any area of life. Jealousy and quarreling is an easy thing for satan to use to bring down God’s people (all people). Therefore, especially in church, we should be extra careful to be inclusive and loving to “all,” not leaving others out.
1 Corinthians 5:6-8 (NASB)
6 Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough? 7 Clean out the old leaven so that you may be a new lump, just as you are in fact unleavened. For Christ our Passover also has been sacrificed. 8 Therefore let us celebrate the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
James 4:1-12 (NASB)
Submit Yourselves to God
1 [a]What is the source of quarrels and conflicts among you? [b]Is not the source your pleasures that wage war in your members? 2 You lust and do not have; so you commit murder. You are envious and cannot obtain; so you fight and quarrel. You do not have because you do not ask. 3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask [c]with wrong motives, so that you may spend it [d]on your pleasures.
4 You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. 5 Or do you think that the Scripture speaks to no purpose: “[e]He [f]jealously desires the Spirit which He has made to dwell in us”? 6 But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says,
“God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”
7 Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Be miserable and mourn and weep; let your laughter be turned into mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you.
11 Do not speak against one another, brethren. He who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks against the law and judges the law; but if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge of it. 12 There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the One who is able to save and to destroy; but who are you who judge your neighbor?
Brothers and Sisters, Please remember that people who come to church are there for the Lord’s Word, support, fellowship, and only God knows what else. If you’re busy with your close friends and family but not welcoming others with the arms of Jesus, how will they learn His love?
Please remember, whether you’re a Christian or not, we are always being watched, even if people don’t know they are watching us. Later, something might jog a memory for those who’ve witnessed your life (if even just for a moment of your life). Will they remember good or bad?
Numbers 6:24-26 (NIV)
24 ‘“The Lord bless you
and keep you;
25 the Lord make his face shine on you
and be gracious to you;
26 the Lord turn his face toward you
and give you peace.”’
Last question to ponder: Do you know what a friend needs?
Blessings and Peace,
©2014 Susie Glennan
All Rights Reserved.
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I left clickable footnote links within the text, from BibleGateway.com because I love them and am so grateful for their work.