“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” Galatians 5:22-23
If God has assigned you to encourage the family of the missing, then on your shoulders He has placed a mighty task. Taking on this role will require you to be present, sacrifice time and energy, to be available, and to encourage. God knows all of our hearts, our spirits and how much we can bear, and He would not have chosen you for this important task if He did not believe you could handle it. Count it a privilege to be chosen for such a time as this.
Please understand that, as the person chosen to comfort and encourage the family of the missing, you must understand and exhibit the Fruit of the Spirit. These qualities—love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control—are vital as you offer assistance in this dire situation. The family member or friend who is suffering with worry, anxiety and grief needs stability, and God is offering that through the Fruit of the Spirit that He placed within you.
Don’t worry. Encouraging them is not on your shoulders. God has given you a roadmap of the qualities He has give all of us to help them:
Love: Let’s face it. God loves us. His love for us surpasses everything. He wakes us up, hears and responds to our prayers, works on our behalf, and loved us enough to sacrifice His son, Jesus Christ, to save us from an eternity in hell. According to I Corinthians 13:4-7, “Love is patient, kind, does not envy or boast, it is not proud, does not dishonor others, is not self-seeking or easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs, does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” Your family member or friend would not even be tempted to lean on you if you did not express this kind of genuine love for them and their missing loved one. Keep this in mind at all times.
Peace: There is something about your presence that exudes peace. This is a God-given gift. In the midst of such a difficult time, God uses your presence to bring stability and peace to the atmosphere. You are the person who can help your family member or loved one to understand that God’s peace, that “surpasses all understanding” (Philippians 4:7), will help them to be to endure this situation.
Joy: As difficult as it may be in this situation, feeling and expressing joy is still possible. It is amazing how a simple laugh can be like a ray of sunshine in the middle of the storm they are facing, ease depression, and help them see life in color again. God placed you there to help them, not to enjoy the situation, but to be able to focus on experiencing pockets of joy throughout each day.
Forbearance: One thing is for sure, everyone involved in this situation will be livid, and they have every right to be. However, Romans 12:19 clearly states, “Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ says the Lord.” God placed you there to help them to focus on trusting God, and to ensure the family doesn’t take matters into their own hands.
Kindness and Goodness: There is nothing better than a good and kind person. Someone who empathizes with your situation, takes the time to listen, does what they can to help. God dropped goodness and kindness in your bosom to help others, and, in a world that can sometimes be very cruel, your good and kind presence can be the balm the family needs to make it moment to moment.
Faithfulness: One thing I know, God is faithful. He does what He says He will do. He promised never to leave or forsake us (Deuteronomy 31:6), and He honors that promise. A faithful friend is also a godsend. God placed you in your friend’s life for that very reason. After the dust settles, the searches decrease, and time passes without word from that missing loved one, the ones who are still there to pray with, cry and do for that loved one, are what matters. For you loved one, that person is you.
Gentleness: Those who inhabit a gentle spirit are not bitter, unstable, impatient, doubtful, abrupt, irritable, proud, insensitive, self-seeking, arrogant, careless, or are easily angered. God knows you are not perfect, but He wants you to remember that He has placed in your spirit His peace that will allow you to be able to treat your family member or friend with the gentleness they will need to get through this difficult situation.
Self-control: The last thing your loved one needs is for you to lack self-control. Your self-discipline is what they need to bring stability to the situation. Besides, seeing you exhibit this quality may help them learn how to utilize it within themselves.
As important as it is for you the express God’s Fruit of the Spirit for your family member or friend, it is also of utmost importance that you express them for yourself. That love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness and goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control is vital for you, and those who love you. This assignment will be taxing, but being obedient by doing God’s work is more important than the sacrifice it takes to do so. Take on the Fruit of the Spirit and share it with those who are in need of it and you. It is God’s gift to them, and you.
Candance L. Greene is Editor for Black and Missing Foundation, Inc. Her work has been published in several anthologies including Bittersweet: An Anthology of Contemporary Black Women’s Poetry; Brevity: A Journal of Concise Literary Nonfiction; and Fearless Confessions: A Writer’s Guide to Memoir, and the Huffington Post. She is the founder of Cherishedflight Communications, LLC, an editing and writing service. Visit her website at www.cherishedflight.com and follow her on Facebook: cherishedflightcommunications and Twitter @cherishedflight.
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