Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love makes up for many of your faults. Cheerfully share your home with those who need a meal or a place to stay for the night.

God has given each of you some special abilities; be sure to use them to help each other, passing on to others God’s many kinds of blessings.

1 Peter 4:8-10 TLB

How fortunate we are that so many in our church families are passing on God’s blessings to people in need! Unfortunately, the needs of some living with illness – especially mental illness – are not always understood. Christian friends want to help, but sometimes say things that are hurtful instead of helpful.

One person was offhandedly told by a well-meaning friend, “Just look to God. He’ll help you through this.” No thought was given to the possibility that medical support might be needed. No effort made to hear what the person was going through. No compassion shown. And yet, being heard and receiving compassion would have been so very helpful. That’s how love is shared.

Another person, in the depth of depression, was told that all she needed was God. She should not need people. This depressed person felt like she was being told her faith was lacking, though she was a devoted follower of Christ. She was deeply hurt. Her depression worsened. She knew she needed her friends. Why was that so wrong?

When we go through dark times and our minds are not working well, it’s not always easy to focus on God and read our Bibles. It’s very common to feel a distance between us and God. Many then need a godly friend who will give them a warm hug and kind words. It is a loving God who brings such friends to us, friends who’ll check on us occasionally, friends who’ll pray with us when our own words fail.

Yes, people are important. God wants His love distributed everywhere, among all people – love shared with others on His behalf. If we’re not receiving God’s grace from His people, our perception of God may very well be diminished.

As Christians in God’s church we are bound to each other. We need each other. Each of us is a representative of God.

We could be such a blessing to each other when we face hard times!

Thank God for friends!