Supporting Friends Who Suffer

The listening Friend

When it comes to living life, and having friends while we are living our own lives, it becomes paramount to “be there” for our friends. 


How is it that so many people seem to be suffering so?  What makes us “shy away” or “come to the rescue” when our friends lives take turns for the worse?  (Ask yourself which is more comfortable for you?)


Being a friend requires us to not only have boundaries, but also, to have a willingness to put our own issues aside so that we can be a loving support for our friends.  Granted, some of our friends may always be in drama, but that’s okay!   Why?  Because we chose them to be our friend!


But what is a friend?  How does one become a True Friend?  Does it mean that we must put our integrity on the line for our friends?  In the Bible Jesus is said to say, “Until we can lay our lives down for our friends, we cannot enter the kingdom of heaven.”  But what does that mean, “lay our life down?”



Sometimes, things become our life.  Sometimes, ideas are our lives.  Sometimes, events and conditions are our lives.  But what I think Jesus was talking about here is that we must be willing to stop doing what we are aggressively seeking to accomplish, and put our own goals and desires aside long enough to “lend a hand” or to “lift someone up in spirit.”


Each and every day we get entangled in our own ventures…things that consume our attention and are really no more than the temporary focus of our attention to divert us away from the richer experiences of life.  We can spend countless hours producing a new show, writing a new screenplay, creating new music, painting on canvases, playing with our new toys, watching television, or maybe even eating.  But how often do we engage in any one of these with those people we have invited into our lives?  Those people we call friends?


To “lift someone up in spirit” is more than just giving them what they ask for, or what we perceive they need.  Lifting someone up in spirit means to be a inspired content listener, being willing to do something that we know nothing about just so someone has company (and being willing to do this without judgment or contempt for it!).  Lifting someone up in spirit means to have an open heart for the love and the life of that individual.  It doesn’t mean offering “our” advice so they can see their way out.  Or proving we “know better.”


Being present for someone whether they suffer or are in pain, or emotional turmoil, is providing that safe place for that individual to blossom and to find their own way out.  Just because we have expertise at their seeming struggle, doesn’t mean it’s ours to do—that’s enabling.  It’s been said that teaching someone to fish is more giving than offering them a fish.  A person can do so much more in partnership than they can do alone.  It’s really about the “two or more gathered” that becomes the healing agency.


Lending a hand” is more about reaching out and touching that friend in loving ways that might not look like financial support or emotional support.  Lending a hand might mean taking on some responsible measure by praying for that person every day, and being a presence of gratitude for “their being” in your life.  Don’t think of lending a hand as always having to pick up a tool, or some task driven event.  Think of lending a hand as a motive of compassion, understanding, and loving kindness.  Don’t make yourself a God in their situation.  Don’t make yourself the supplier, the financier, or the match-maker.


Lending a hand is about taking the hand of the individual and walking with them through whatever it is that they may be going through.


How we view our friends says more about who we are than what they are going through.  For us to be balanced we must not go out-of-balance to be there for someone.


Live a life of Love.  Give the gift of Love.  Open your heart to embrace the Truth that lives within all peoples, no matter their gender, their sexual orientation, their race, their color, their creed, their place of origin, or their spiritual tendencies.  Having a friend in our lives is the greatest gift we as human beings can ever experience.


Often we resort to having pets to fill the void of being with other human beings.  Often we indulge ourselves in addictions or desires that pretend to satisfy our need for being together; and often times, those addictions and desires aren’t even necessary or wanted, and if we could be honest, generally they aren’t even enjoyed!


When our friends seem to suffer—it is because we “see” them suffering.  Our greatest gift to them would be to “see a greater truth” for them by knowing that within them, is that same magnificence that created this entire universe.  There is endless good, but we not only have to know that, we have to activate it!  Move out of the way so your Good can be shared!


Supporting friends who suffer takes each and every one of our individual efforts.  This world is changing rapidly, and our part to insure that what this world changes into is more life affirming and more loving, is to always be willing to support our friends when they are suffering and to see everyone on this planet as potential friends.


To have a friend—we must be a friend!



  1. marispirit says:

    Great thoughts loved this thank you fro the enlightenment!

  2. Sam Crutcher says:

    Thank you Rev Les, you are a good friend!

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