In Episode 6 (or should I say post 6?) of the Friends & Christianity series we are going to look at the sixth episode of the first season of Friends. You know, the one where Joey is Al Pacino’s butt…

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This episode starts with the friends attending Joey’s Freud! play. It is Rachel’s first time, so they remark on how she’s excited because she doesn’t know how awful Joey’s previous plays have been.

And, let’s face it, Freud! is laughing-stock awful. But when you’re an actor or anyone starting out in an industry, sometimes you’ve got to scrap the bottom of the barrel before you can start climbing up. And sometimes you’ll be down there scrapping for what seems like an eternity.

BUT (pun only partially intended), it is a whole lot easier to survive the bottom, with friends supporting, commiserating, and helping you along the way.

Joey ends up getting an agent and his first “crack” into the film industry with a part as Al Pacino’s butt. Trying too hard, Joey gets fired from his first “break.” He feels down and out. His friends do joke and laugh with him along with way, but at this lowest moment, Phoebe steps in and says,

“You know, I don’t think this was your shot. I mean, I don’t even think you get just one shot. I really believe big things are going to happen for you. I do, and you’ve just got to keep thinking about the day when some kid is going to go running up to his friends and say, ‘I got the part! I got the part! I’m going to be Joey Tribbiani’s a**.”

Proverbs 18:21 talks about how the power of death and life are in the tongue (our words). What we say matters. Our words can encourage and strengthen, or they can kill the spirit. In this case, Phoebe uses the power of words to inspire her friend, to help him up off the ground, and reenergize him for the fight.

Some people make cutting remarks, but the words of the wise bring healing. ~ Proverbs 12:18 NLT

It is important, if we want to become better friends, more Christ-like friends, we need to start being more mindful of how we wield the sword of our tongue. Are we using our words to do good, or to cut down the good God is trying to do in someone’s heart?

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. ~ Ephesians 4:29 ESV

Confession: I don’t always use my words to do good, but I soooo want to change this about myself. I want to, in this instance, be more like Phoebe. If there is something uplifting and true and honest that I can say to a friend, I pray I will never hold is back. But, if there is something I have to say that can tear down the work God is doing in them, I pray I will be silent.

Who has been a Phoebe in your life?

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