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News and views from the German-language region of Europe

January 12, 2018

A friend in times of discouragement

Filed under Sabbath Thoughts

For most people, life has its share of disappointments. Fatigue from a demanding schedule, financial difficulties, a failed endeavor at work or school, health problems, difficulty getting along with a family member or friend—these are times when a person can feel frustrated and discouraged.

Our words can be a valuable tool to cheer up and encourage a person who is down. Proverbs 25:11 tells us: "Like apples of gold in settings of silver, is a word spoken in right circumstances" (NASB). By offering some words of encouragement, we can help discouraged people face their present and future with courage and a positive outlook.

Yet often that’s easier said than done. Sometimes we want to help, but we’ve never been in a situation similar to what the discouraged person is facing and we are at a total loss of words. Maybe we don’t know the person’s circumstances well enough to comment on specifics, but we still want to show our concern.

One way to help is by letting the other person know you’re available to listen if he (or she) ever wants to talk about the problem. You may not be able to give advice from your own experiences or background, but just listening and trying to understand the suffering person’s perspective can be a big comfort. Often, being able to talk about the particular problem is just what a discouraged person needs to sort through his concerns and gain the insight needed to deal with the situation.

In being willing to listen, you are letting the person who is discouraged know that he (or she) is not alone. You are choosing to face the problems with him and certainly others are also rallying behind him. Reassure your friend you want the best for him and you are praying about the situation. Help your friend see he is not the only person to face that particular problem. If you know of other people who’ve been in such a situation, suggest your friend talk to that person. Your friend will feel less isolated and will gain constructive information to help work through the problem.

In trying to help a discouraged friend, focus on what you know to be true: You care about your friend and are pulling for him (or her). To know there are others who are concerned about them and who are by their sides even during the low points can give those who are discouraged the strength they need to face setbacks and challenges with a positive mindset.

With these thoughts I wish everyone a rewarding Sabbath!

Paul Kieffer's blog with personal insights and news from the German-language region in Europe.


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