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EP. 162 How to Help Hurting Friends

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Welcome to a new week of the Hope Rescue Podcast. This week we are wrapping up our three week series on friendship by discussing how to help hurting friends.

Galatians 6:1-5 says, "Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbor. For each will have to bear his own load.”

In verse two, the word "burden" is the Greek word "baros" which means a heavy, unmanageable weight or load. In verse five, though, the Greek word for burden is "phortion" which means a manageable burden. Friendships are about managing each other's loads.

The scripture above says that if anyone is caught in a transgression, whatever it may be, those who are spiritual should restore him. The goal with our friends is always restoration. When a friend is going through a transgression, our aim as Christian friends should never be isolation, annihilation, or destruction. We cannot be personally affected by the transgressions of our friends, and we are called to restore our friends with a gentle spirit.

If we have a friend who is struggling with something but they are trying to get a grip on their problems, we need to support them without inserting ourselves or censoring them. For example, if your spouse wants to lose weight and start eating healthy, you can support them by making healthy meals but don’t censor everything they eat. If they want dessert, don’t control them through shame. It’s okay to have personal burdens that we carry on our own with support from friends.

1 Thessalonians 5:11 says, “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.” Close, intimate friendships require an investment of time, soul, and spirit, so the more friends you have, the harder it is to develop that intimacy. Aim to develop close ties with two or three solid friends, and you will be set for life.

The word encourage literally means to be in the same proximity or to call alongside. An encourager is a friend who is present and available. The literal translation for "build up" is to build a house, which involves intentional time and laying of a foundation. Let us seek to be a friend who encourages and and builds up our friends.

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