Sharing Good News When Your Friend is Suffering

Sharing Good News When Your Friend is Suffering

Two lines appear and she couldn't believe it. Finally, a positive test! Lea and her husband had been trying to get pregnant for months. She now sits on the floor, overcome with joy that God has provided a child on the way. After the initial celebration, her mind simultaneously goes to her friend. Her friend has been unable to conceive for years, wrestling with infertility. They've shared in one another's pain. Now, Lea wants to share the good news but is afraid this will discourage her friend.

Mary and her closest coworker, Rachel, were up for a promotion. Rachel has been working much longer at the company and has worked overtime to put in the extra effort. Mary found out today that their boss decided to promote her over Rachel. She has prayed for this promotion as a means to support her family while her husband is injured and unable to work. She is afraid to tell Rachel the good news in fear it will complicate their friendship.

You've likely experienced something relatable to these two incidents. You've received really good news and you want to share it! But, your friends are suffering and you're worried the good news will upset them. Romans 12:15 says, "Rejoice with those who rejoice; weep with those who weep." For Christians, life is filled with the ebb and flow of weeping and rejoicing. It's easy to weep with one another when life is mutually hard and to rejoice with one another when life is mutually exciting. Yet, each of our seasons do not perfectly parallel with one another. The challenge comes when walking through seasons of celebration, while others walk through seasons of suffering and vice versa. We are commanded to share in these seasons with one another as a Christian duty and act of love. Consider how we can be intentionally careful about sharing good news when our friends are suffering.

With Compassion
Lead your conversations with Christ-like compassion. Pray and ask God to give you a compassion that exceeds all your expectations in sharing your good news. Acknowledging your friend's pain is not only kind and considerate but truly places their interests above your own. It serves as a reminder that you have done nothing to deserve your good circumstances and neither have they done anything to deserve their hard circumstances. It also prepares you for the reactions you don't want to hear. If your friend responds in a discouraging manner, or is hurt and frustrated by the news, you can be better prepared to give grace and show compassion.

With Joy
Everything good in this life is a gift from God and it is to be received with joy! The word gospel literally means "good news", and we share it with others because it's actually good! The truth of the gospel enables us to receive every single good and perfect gift from above with joy and gladness, because God has gifted us in Christ with a joy that lasts. This doesn't mean that we won't struggle with envy, jealousy, or discontentment. But it does mean that God can sanctify this area of our lives and the lives of our friends. Often, when sharing good news with a friend who is suffering, we feel that we must downplay our happiness or hide our joy to make them feel better. Though our intentions are good, true comfort doesn't come from us. There are no right words of our own to heal their wounds or calm the fears. It is only God that can provide true help and refuge when our friends are struggling. Don't withhold sharing good news from your friends with gospel-joy. Allow the opportunity for God to work in the lives of your friends, sanctifying them in their ability to receive good news when it's hard and reminding them of the true joy that comes through Christ.

With Prayer
Anytime you are sharing news that could be hard, we are wise to saturate our circumstances with prayer. Before and after sharing with your friend, take time to pray and ask God for help. Ask Him to rid any selfish motives you may have and to fill you with humility and compassion. Ask Him to help you consider their interests above your own and to rid you of any unhelpful expectations. Even after sharing the news, ask your friend if you can pray together. Thank God for the gifts He gives and ask that He would bless your friend. Ultimately, ask God for comfort and help as you simultaneously walk through seasons of suffering and celebration, and reminding each of you that your true joy and comfort is found not in your circumstances, but in the greatest good news of all Jesus Christ.

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