For months, I struggled with depression. When my heart was breaking, a friend asked how I was. Sometimes I gave him straightforward answers. Other times I rambled on the verge of tears, cracked sarcastic jokes, or avoided him.
The other day, I stopped in to see him again. It was an ordinary visit. We talked, like we often do, about half a dozen subjects. Work. Books. Family. We shared news of mutual friends: one is facing a crisis similar to the one I experienced three years before. I recalled the compassion my friend extended towards me back when I sobbed so much I got the hiccups and walked about with red-rimmed eyes. I thanked him, feeling embarrassed.
His response surprised me.
“I am honored that you trusted me,” he said. “Thanks for your friendship.”
Surely he had it backwards. I was the needy one. I had my bleeding heart on my sleeve. I was an inconvenience. How could my friend say I’d given him something of worth?
I caught the look in his eyes.
He was sincere.
His answer gave me dignity and joy. These are precious gifts, the kind we should give one another.
That is why the Bible says, “Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us. Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, so it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other. In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to… encourage others, be encouraging… If you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly. Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them.” (Rom. 12:3-9, NLT)
What gifts will you give to those around you?
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