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Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Developing A Safety Net

In review of 1 Peter 3:8 it says, “And now this word to all of you: You should be like one big happy family, full of sympathy toward each other, loving one another with tender hearts and humble minds.”

Bottom Line:
We need others in our lives to share in the good and in the bad times.

What this means to me:
Today’s verse reminds me that I need strong committed relationships in my life. The relationships should be life family, with us showing sympathy toward each other and being loving with tender hearts and humble minds.

Nobody should have to face difficult situations alone. Life’s tough times and tragedies are inevitable; and each of us will face them (regardless of whether we are his disciples or not.) But we don’t need to go through them alone. We need God’s safety net to help hold us up through the difficult times.

So what is God’s safety net? I’m learning that this safety net is a group of other believers, a handful of people who are really committed to me and my well being. This kind of group is called a community. As I understand it, this is God’s plan for community: “If one part suffers, every part suffers with it” (1 Corinthians 12:26a NIV). Community is God’s answer to despair.

Romans 12:15 expresses a similar idea: “Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.” Now the first part of that verse is easy. When something good happens to someone, it’s often easy to join in on the party. However, when someone is having a tough time, it can seem more difficult.

But, it doesn’t need to be complex. When going through a crisis, advice is not what you always need; many time you just want somebody to be there to sit with you, put an arm around your shoulder, or cry with you.

As Paul tells us, “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up” (1 Thessalonians 5:11a). Interestingly enough, encouraging someone else doesn’t always mean giving a pep talk or words of wisdom. Sometimes the best kind of encouragement I can give is just sitting in silence, waiting and maybe even weeping with a friend.

So the question today is, do I have a safety net, a group of fellow Christians I know I can count on in life’s toughest times? Today my answer is “yes” I have some fellow Christians I know who I can probably count on, however, I have not drawn that close to them.  

I’m going to go out and begin building those closer friendships. The hard times in life are inevitable, and it would be foolish for me to go into them unprepared.