Did you know that trying to rescue someone from drowning is very dangerous because while they are flailing around in a panic, they’re looking for someone or something to grab on to? The key is to avoid being caught in their grasp. It could literally mean your life or death.
Experts suggest that once you reach the person in trouble, you should splash water in their face first. For some reason, it calms them down. And if for some reason that doesn’t work… then they say your next move is to punch them in the face.
I might want to reconsider my career. 😉
This technique interests me because it translates so easily to real life relationships. Here’s how.
When we have a friend who is flailing in life, we are more than ready to help because we love them, right?
- Sometimes that help is a splash of reality.
- Sometimes it’s a punch in the face with life-giving truth.
We should be ready and willing to speak the truth in love into someone’s life. Popular or not. Easy or not.
But here’s where it gets tricky.
While they are thrashing about… trying to make sense of a difficult issue or a hurtful comment… we need to be careful to not become a casualty ourselves.
Can you think of a time when someone you loved was struggling in life, and in your attempts to help them:
- You took on that struggle?
- You adopted that attitude?
- You picked up their offense?
- You lost hope and joy?
Galatians 6:2 says “Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ.” The law of Christ is an uncommon expression today but means the law of love.
Simply stated… We love others by helping them.
Look, we need to help those we love (and even some we don’t) when they are struggling. As God’s children, we are His hands and feet. We just need to guard our hearts and our minds so we don’t lose perspective.
- When your friend gets fired from Safeway, you don’t need to boycott the store in protest.
- When your friend’s husband acts like a jerk, you don’t need to give him dirty looks when we see him at church.
- When your friend’s kids are making bad choices, you don’t need to accompany her into depression in support.
How can you help others who are thrashing and floundering in the deep waters and not go under, too?
Realize you are NOT their savior. Jesus already holds that position and He does a mighty fine job. 🙂
Maybe instead, you come along side them and splash water in their face.
- Be a sounding board (you don’t have to have all the answers)
- Encourage them
- Pray with them and for them
- Offer scripture that highlights God’s character or their specific situation
- Pass on a trusted Christian counselors name and number
- Bring chocolate and Starbucks
- Send a card snail mail
And if your gentle splash doesn’t work… punch ’em with the truth. In love, of course.
Be the kind of friend you want in your life.
(Don’t be confused! This posted Tuesday night on accident rather than Wednesday morning on purpose… This is the August 11th post)