A friend loves at all times. Proverbs 17:17 (NIV)
Yesterday, we reminded ourselves of some of the practical actions we can take to begin to transform our relationships. Today let’s reconsider the rest:
- Accept people unconditionally: John Ortberg authored a book titled, “Everybody’s Normal Till You Get to Know Them.” He describes driving home from a party with his wife and talking about other couples, making comments like, “They’re nice…but they’re a little different.” After thinking about it they realized everybody is nice, but each of us has our quirks. Others accept ours and remain our friends, and we have to choose to accept those of others and become or remain their friends.
- Help people feel significant: Many of us feel marginalized and unimportant living in our ferocious world, yet each of us is empowered to affirm the value of others every day. All we must do is be aware and take simple actions. We are surrounded by opportunities to offer a kind word or perform a simple gesture that will lift the value of another human being. A compliment to a stranger or a comment of encouragement to a young mother can be life-giving.
- Be sympathetic: From time to time we will encounter hurting people. During those times we should politely show sympathy. We lighten others’ burdens by sharing them. We can acknowledge the cause of the hurt (like a loved one who passed away), affirm the sadness of the person, and offer our condolences or best wishes.
- Stick with people in tough times: There can be periods of difficulty in life such as extended illness or job loss. Learn to encourage others and show the love of Christ during these trying times.