It’s important to comfort friends who are going through a tough time and do for them what you believe Christ would have you. God cares for those who are hurting, and so should we. But it’s important to be careful that your care for them doesn’t take you places you shouldn’t go. Be aware of the FULL impact your actions could have. Sympathize and comfort friends who are hurting… yes! But be careful:
When You Comfort Friends
Don’t put yourself out there so much for others that you neglect to be a good best friend to your spouse. It’s not good to put him or her in the place of missing you—more than it’s healthy.
We often hear people complain that his or her spouse is texting and/or calling back and forth with a co-worker. This spouse says it’s because he or she is trying to “help” this friend who is going through a troubled time. Their spouse may have a great heart to help others, which can be good. But when it causes problems in their OWN marriage, it’s not good at all.
Don’t spend more time with a friend than is healthy to do. We’re told in 1 Corinthians 7, our time is not our own. We now have a spouse to consider in all we do.
Guard Your Heart As You Comfort Friends
Your sympathy for an opposite sex friend at work can draw you to be a great listener for him or her. But be cautious. (We can’t emphasize this enough.) Don’t spend time with them in places you shouldn’t be together. (We’re talking about going out for meals or walking together alone, phoning and, texting after hours, etc.) It’s in times like these where temptation can grab hold.
Trust us when we say that the enemy of our faith would love to take your marriage down. Don’t underestimate the power of temptation to lure you to think, feel, or do things you NEVER would have done before. It’s the mindset of “it would never happen to me” or “…to us” that takes down many of unaware spouses. Be careful; guard your heart and your marriage, even when you are seeking to comfort friends.
PRIDE CAN GRAB YOU UNAWARE.
You may not think you’re a prideful person. But beware; it can sneak up on you and take you places you shouldn’t go in your thoughts and actions. This is true with your spouse and with friends, and relatives.
“Because the Bible is clear about not emulating others in their sinful practices we can be tempted to think we’re better than they are. That’s the sin of pride! Sometimes we think if we love and accept certain people, we’re condoning their sin. No, the truth lies in remaining respectful, and accepting others the way Jesus did.
“Whether it was racial differences (Samaritans), lifestyle differences (the five-times-divorced woman at the well), or class differences (Nicodemus), Jesus loved and accepted people as they were, while inspiring them to a higher standard.” (T.D. Jakes)
So yes, sympathize … yes, comfort friends … and yes, be a good friend. But NO, don’t give more than you should. Guard your heart and your marriage in the process of giving comfort. And be careful not to step into a prideful place emotionally. Sympathize, but be wise in doing so.
More Info to Use as You Comfort Friends:
Below you will find several linked articles that can help you minister in compassionate and wise ways to help you in this mission:
• HELPING TROUBLED FRIENDS’ MARRIAGES
• FRIEND HELPING A FRIEND WHO IS IN CRISIS
• TO THOSE WHO OFFER SUPPORT TO FRIENDS
As you minister to your friend, offering comfort, with the “same comfort God has given you“:
“May the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, as we do for you, so that he may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints.” (1 Thessalonians 3:12-13)
Cindy and Steve Wright
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