July 13, 2021
It was 2019. After ng madugong exam sa isang major subject, agad kayong nagsama-sama ng mga kaibigan mo sa isang kainan para naman mapawi ang lungkot at pagod na inyong pinagdadaanan. Pagkatapos nito, bumalik ka sa school para kausapin ang isang kaibigang broken-hearted at ’di alam kung paano makaka-move on.
Mas simple at madali noon ang mga paraan para ipaalam mo sa mga kaibigan mong nandiyan ka lamang at handang makinig sa kahit anong rants nila sa buhay. Isang text lamang o call, makakapunta ka na agad sa kanila at magsisilbing ilaw sa magulo nilang mga isip.
Nakakamiss ’no? Pero ngayon, tila imposibleng ipadama ang pagmamahal sa ganoong paraan.
Dahil noong nagsimula ang pandemya, distansyang sapat ang mas maiging paraan para maipakitang mahal natin ang mga taong nasa ating paligid. Nabaliktad bigla ang mundo.
This past year and a half has challenged our relationships with other people. Those who we thought our friends forever are now far from our reach. Our loved ones who we believed can help us navigate life during the pandemic are the ones in need of help. Our friends who we expected as the source of our encouragement are the ones losing hope at the moment.
If there is one thing that the pandemic has taught us it is that relationships are valuable.
No matter how hard and complicated it might be, we will continue to fight for one another. If a fellow needs some lifting or encouragement, we will be of help to them. We are to commit to love at all times even when they are faced with insurmountable mountains and storms in life.
A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.
But considering our setup today, how can we keep encouraging one another online? Is it really possible to do it genuinely these days?
If you are reading this and you want to encourage a friend, here are some tips that can help you do it:
1. Serve willingly.
As the old saying goes, “Love knows no bounds.” We can’t let the pandemic stop us from being an encouragement to our friends. Even if the situation keeps us apart from each other, we can still let our friends know that they are loved and valued through serving them.
We can spend some time asking how they are, what they are feeling right now, or what we can do to help them. These questions could lead us to answers that will ultimately help us in serving the needs of the people we love.
Sometimes your service could be in the form of playing games with them online, a weekly catch up through Zoom or video call, tutoring them on a certain subject, having watch parties, or even sending memes daily (Yes, I really believe na love language ’to!).
If the opportunity to help arises, let us not hesitate to do it! Our friends could be needing a helping hand today, are we ready and willing to serve them?
2. Listen intently.
Most of the time even if we do not say anything, our mere presence is already a blessing to the people closest to us. Being there and letting them know that we’ll listen is already an encouragement to the people struggling today, even if we don’t have any words to speak.
We can be a blessing to our lonely, anxious friends just by listening to their thoughts and to what they are actually going through. Sometimes, they will not need our advice at all because they already know the right thing to do.
What they need from us are our ears to intentionally hear their stories. Are we willing to listen intently?
3. Pray unceasingly.
In our prayer time, may we always remember our friends who are going through a lot today.
Take some time to pray for them today! We can list down all of their concerns and commit to pray for them every single day. We can set a time to remind ourselves to pray for them or call them if needed. Even if we have our human limitations in encouraging our friends, remember that there is nothing beyond our God. Don’t stop praying for your friend until you see breakthroughs happen.
One day when our friends will tell others about what they went through, our hope is that they will tell of a friend who stuck with them, especially through the bad times.
Our ways of expressing encouragement may differ, but with whatever God is calling us to do for our friends, may we be faithful and steadfast to act on it.
As we serve, listen and pray, let’s remember to introduce our friends to Jesus Christ.
We know that there’s no greater friend than Him who laid down His life for us. We, including our friends, can run to Him for refuge and strength in times of loneliness and weakness.
“Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.”