How you can help your chronically ill friend, part 1

 Being a good friend to a chronically ill person is simply equivalent to being a loving Christian.  Unfortunately, chronic illness is often an invisible illness until it progresses to the state of absolutely life-threatening.  A dear friend of mine has undergone lung transplants twice. However, her autoimmune illness was virtually ignored by her own primary doctor and she experienced being accused of “faking” her illness or that it was “all in her head.”  She transferred to a much more proactive doctor in sheer desperation. Shockingly, she was given six months to live unless they could do a lung transplant. At this point, there were some Christians who truly owed her an apology.  Please don’t put yourself in that position with your chronically ill friend.  A few ways to be a true friend include:

  • Assume your friend is telling the truth about his/her symptoms.

  • Don’t imagine that you can cure your friend unless perhaps you are a specialist in the particular area of illness that he is experiencing.

  • Be very careful about what and how you disseminate information about your friend’s condition.

Matthew Henry on the sin of gossip:

“It is required of us that we be tender of the good name of our brethren; where we cannot speak well, we had better say nothing than speak evil; we must not take pleasure in making known the faults of others, divulging things that are secret, merely to expose them, nor in making more of their known faults than really they deserve, and, least of all, in making false stories, and spreading things concerning them of which they are altogether innocent. What is this but to raise the hatred and encourage the persecutions of the world, against those who are engaged in the same interests with ourselves, and therefore with whom we ourselves must stand or fall? Consider you are brethren.”

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