Theme: The best way to help a struggling friend is not with our knowledge, but with our compassion.
1. 2 Corinthians 4 says that we can comfort others with the comfort that God gives us. What does this mean? How can you pass God’s comfort to others?
2. Ruth 1:1-17 tells the story of two women. Naomi’s husband and sons died, and she was left poor and alone. She decided to travel back to the place where she was born. One of her daughters-in-law, Ruth (who had been married to one of Naomi’s sons), said she would go with her. Naomi told her not to—there would be nothing there for her and they wouldn’t have any possessions or food. But Ruth insisted. She said she would go wherever Naomi went and share all of Naomi’s troubles. She worshiped God, just as Naomi did, and she said they would take the long trip and deal with their problems together—even if it meant they would die together. Ruth took care of Naomi and comforted her as long as she needed it. As you listen to this episode, think of ways you can show comfort to others.
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God”
In this episode, Chamy is upset about her parents’ divorce. Her friends try to cheer her up, but the only thing that helps is the one friend who just listens and cares.
Do you have friends with serious problems? Maybe they’re sad because someone has died; or maybe, like Chamy, their parents are getting divorced. Problems like these are too big for you to fix. It won’t help to tell them “everything will be OK” or “just relax.” In fact, there’s probably nothing you can say that will help much.
But there’s something you can do. It won’t solve the problem, but it will make them feel better. You can care. Just listen if they want to talk, or sit with them silently if they don’t. The Bible puts it this way: When others are happy, be happy with them, and when they are sad, be sad (Romans 12:15).
How good are you at listening? For the next week, practice listening to your friends and family members instead of doing a lot of the talking. Ask them how they’re doing, and then just listen. Don’t think about what you’re going to say next. If they tell you about their problems, don’t try to fix them. Just be there with them and listen. At the end of the week, think back. How did it go? Do you think you encouraged or comforted any of them? Remember, God is always willing to listen to you, too.