-Joshua Bedford, Contributing Writer
Everyday we sit beside, walk past, and see dozens of people. We see our friends, family, teachers, and people we don’t know. It is a common occurrence to not even know the names of most of the people we pass or come into contact with, but is that really how we want to live our lives?
Many of the people we come into contact with are hurting, and we will never know it. Whether they have a broken home or a bad relationship, or are just having a rough day, it is not something often shared. Life is difficult, and a life without encouragement is almost impossible. You would be surprised what a friendly smile or a helping hand can do for someone. Allow me to provide an example.
One of my close friends in high school told me a story that made me view everyone around me differently. Before, I viewed people as most do; by the way they walk, talk, dress, and act. What isn’t often focused on, however, is their emotional state. Does that smile reach their eyes? Are they truly happy or are they smiling so they don’t cry? Now for the story. I won’t use names, instead I will call the guy John, and my friend Smith.
It was my senior year of high school and my friend Smith confided in me saying he had just had his world rocked. He had several friends who were in the ‘cool’ crowd, who wanted nothing to do with God. One day, he felt led to minister to one of his friends, and in a quiet moment asked this friend, John, if there was anything he needed prayer for, explaining that he had felt God leading him to do so. Immediately, John burst into tears. Completely shocked, as John would never have been caught crying under normal circumstances, Smith knew something was up. As he cried, John started telling Smith how empty he had been feeling, and had just gone through a nasty breakup with his girlfriend who cheated on him, and he had been planning on committing suicide that night. Not knowing what to say, Smith just asked if he could pray for him and volunteered to stay with him that night, saying that God had a better plan. Through this opportunity, three lives were changed. John was saved a few weeks later, and his life has completely turned around; in fact, few know that he was going to commit suicide. Smith is much closer to God; always being ready to minister to anyone he can because he learned that what you see isn’t necessarily what is true about someone’s life. Lastly, this story changed my life.
We pass dozens of people daily, and don’t give a second thought as to whether they are truly a child of God, whether they are in need of a friend, or whether they have a mask on, hiding the fact that they are dying inside. As Christians, we are called to be Christ to those who do not know Him. This means we are to live a life of love, a life of availability to those around us, and to be able to discern situations for what they really are.
Whether you are a Christian or not, a lesson can be learned from this experience with John and Smith. Always be encouraging. Your words carry a lot of weight and can trigger many forms of emotional distress. An encouraging smile, a helping hand, or simply being a proper friend can change and save lives.