How To Be A Good Friend

How To Be A Good Friend
Written by Erin Allen

Personal attacks can be one of the most difficult interpersonal conflicts to overcome. One I walked through hit so deeply that my ability to function was halted. I had been accused of doing the exact opposite of what my heart and actions showed. My accuser was filled with rage and was fully convinced that I had done an evil thing. There was no convincing them otherwise. 

On the other hand, I have many examples of times when friends have stepped in and defended my character, willing to go down with me if necessary.

When Paul wrote his letters to the church at Thessalonica, he showed the kind of affection and encouragement we all long for in this life. He spoke words of great love.

    • Paul was thanking God in prayer for the people of this church (vs3).
    • He encouraged them in their faith journey (vs3).
    • He communicated his belief in them, his longing for other churches to be as they were (vs3-4).
    • He let them know that he bragged on them and was thrilled to associate himself with them (vs4).
    • He encouraged them in their sufferings, believing they would come through tough times, yet warning them of the dangers ahead (vs5-9).
    • He committed to PRAY and STAND with them when those challenges arose (vs11).

When I disciple young ladies, one of the first exercises I do is ask the girls to identify their inner circle. Who are the people who know them best and are most committed to their overall wellbeing? Identifying them helps us recognize what voices we need to listen to, and what voices we should not. 

Identifying [our healthy] inner circle helps us recognize what voices we need to listen to

I learned to do this after I had been personally attacked. I learned that the enemy is out to destroy me, and he uses people to do just that. As a result, not everyone gets to have a voice in my life. I have learned to trust my inner circle to help me discern the right voices, and to lean into what the Lord is doing in my life through the good, the bad, and the ugly that comes my way.

If we are making a difference in the world, personal attacks will surely come. Listening to the wise and walking away from the lies will lead us into what the Lord has for us in the midst of difficulty. Paul got that. May we follow his lead and speak words of encouragement and love to those around us.

Proverbs 25:11 “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.”

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