This post by kathylarkman was originally published at GRACE PLACE
Okay, so I feel I am getting the hang of this one anothering thing now, I just need to gather a group of people around me, pray for them, encourage them, forgive them and love them. I can manage this. So I’ll do what I usually do; find people like me who I have lots in common with: so 35-45, married with kids, working women. Then we will know where one another is coming from and muddle through together.
NO!! This is not the biblical model, this is the world’s model as well as my default. Hence I have running friends, school mum friends, doctor friends – but the bible holds a challenge to this.
What is the point of biblical friendship and one anothering? It is to point one another to Christ and build up His church. Being surrounded with people who are at the same point as you might feel comfortable but is not where the Bible tells us to go for support and for the challenges that help us grow.
The Bible encourages inter-generational friendship, older women to teach younger women; younger women to energise or bring fresh eyes to older women.
At the moment I feel I sit in the middle (which is not the same as being middle aged!!), so I have wonderful older/wiser (the two often go together but not always) women who speak wisdom into my life challenging me to be self controlled and kind. I also meet with younger (in age or in faith) women whom I try to encourage and support.
3 Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. 4 Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, 5 to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.
It is in sharing the journey even though we are at different point that we can : Proverbs 27:17: As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.
Older women can share their story with me and point out areas where I can increase my maturity and challenge me to live life to the fullest as God has called me. With younger women I can share the tough seasons, be it young babies, or new married life and encourage as each new stage is reached. With single women I can rejoice at the freedom this allows them to do God’s work or mourn if this is not the place they want to be. We all have stories of God’s love we can share with one another to encourage and burdens we can share and pray through together.
Remember though, water may only flow downhill God’s love and grace flows in all directions so sometimes it is the younger women who challenge and the older ones who need support. All seasons have their ups and downs and we need each other through all of them.
So next time you reach out to someone try taking a risk and choosing someone in a completely different place to you and trust God will work through that relationship and mightily bless you both.