Note: I’m writing this from the perspective of interaction between Christians.
Remind me of The Story, and of my part in it.
This is the big thing I need. I need to know that God loves me, I am his child, that he has a future for me and my family. I need to know the big picture and to be helped into seeing where my present suffering and failure fit in. Tell me the Gospel, who I am because of the victory of Christ, and about the Kingdom coming.
Tell me where you see me failing, but be gentle.
I need to be corrected. I need to be admonished. I need the truth. But, if I’m suffering, I probably need gentle correction. If your Truth has no Grace in the mix, then it’s likely not like Christ. Satan is the Accuser, the Holy Spirit is our Advocate.
Remind me of my strengths, of who I am becoming.
Sure, I’m a mess. But I need to see that I’m not a total mess. I do need encouragement. I do need to be shown some assets I may have trouble seeing right now and to be helped in understanding how God might use those strengths in my troubles. This kind of counsel is very helpful to me.
Ask me to talk, hear me out, and don’t jump in quickly with cliche advice to “fix” me.
Dogs don’t like to get fixed, and sometimes efforts to do quick and easy fixes on people are just as painful. I don’t need cliches (probably), I may not need any words. Certainly your silent company is often better than head-patting and telling me something about fish in the sea, or anything about what God does with windows when doors are shut.
Let me know you love me, are on my side.
I might need you more than I need your advice. I might just need your friendship, your company, your physical presence. When I am hurting, hopeless, feel lost and discouraged, I am desperate to hear someone genuinely communicate that they are with me, on my side, available.
—– —– —–
Featured Image by Paul Boekell