I have a great friend, we’ve been friends for a few years now, and go out to talk at least once every couple months! We will call her Jane (not her real name). Jane, knows of God, and of Christianity, but we personally, don’t really ever talk about biblical things. I went over to her house this last week, and walked in on something, horrifying. I walked in on her with a needle that was just about to go into her right arm.
I obviously panicked, and asked what was going on and she says this, “Jo, you are the only Christian friend I have and If you loved me, you would let me be and just accept this. If you do, you won’t have to worry about our relationship changing. I mean, as a Christian you’re supposed to be loving anyways, right?”
She continued, “If you don’t accept me like this, its going to break my heart to be judged so harshly, by you. I won’t see you as my friend anymore, and honestly we will never speak again. Please just be a good friend to me, and don’t say anything. I don’t want to lose our relationship, you weren’t supposed to see this anyways.”
What if this happened to you or your child, What advice would you give them? What would you do?
While this is not a true story for me; for some people, it may be.
I have seen people, go through similar things. Different addictions, different desires that had taken control. Our children, need us to help them build confidence in their faith, to withstand these kinds of peer pressuring, manipulative people that they will more than likely come across, at least once in their lifetime. Allowing yourself or your children to have close relationships with people who try to entice you to leave your faith at the side lines for their feelings and for their sins, is extremely risky. Telling someone they are in the wrong, and offering them help to get them out of that sin, is plenty biblical. We are to confront sin, and help fellow sinners, by lifting them up! But we can’t be a friend of the world, and a friend of God.
Personally, if this exact scenario happened to me, I would tell her this;
“Jane, I don’t know what happened to you, but listen to me now, this is not right, this is a sin, you could die doing this and It’s not honoring to the Lord. I can help you find resources, I can pray for you, we can find other people to help you. You can hate me if you want to, you can tell me to walk out and never come back, but it doesn’t change the fact that this is sinful, and harmful.”
If you lose that relationship in the process, then God will mend your hurting heart. We cannot succumb to encouraging/condoning someone’s sins, or tolerating their sins for the sake of keeping a relationship with them. Jesus did not tolerate sin, He tolerated sinners. Humans commit sins, but have been able to repent, and be washed clean of them, only because Jesus died on the cross for His children; us.
Wouldn’t we tell our children to say something, to speak up and try to help even with the risk of losing that friend forever? and if the answer is no, then Why?
Surely our Relationship with God, is more important than a relationship here on earth. We cannot save someone who does not want to be saved, and we definitely will not do it better than God himself. So yes, try to help and pray, but don’t chase people who are not willing, and who are continuously throwing your efforts and the gospel, in the trash. Let God work in them, because at that point there is truly nothing else we can do, but take a step back from their destruction, get your children away from their destruction, pray and be still..
When we put God first in our marriage, it thrives.
When we put God first in our friendships, they thrive.
When we put God first, *fill in the blank* will thrive.
This is not to say we as Christians are so, utterly perfect, we still make plenty of mistakes. It will be difficult to tell someone (that you hold very dear), that there is another option than this sin, it is accepting the Lord Jesus as their savior and repenting of what they are doing, like that [example of] a horrible addiction mentioned above, because He is the way to eternal life, and not death. Those who go against God, hate the truth and they hate those who speak it.
Compassion isn’t ignoring truth, it’s speaking truth, even if people hate it. Do not get it twisted, that in order to be compassionate and loving, you cannot confront their sins, because it’s “not your place.” That is absolutely not the case, and it’s not what Jesus encouraged or exemplified. We can be gentle and honest at the same time.
Judge the sin, but do not judge the sinner, who committed it.
I know first hand, how difficult it is to have loved ones become harmful, and to have to break away from those relationships, especially when it’s to protect your children. Because they have either rejected the Lord, or they do know him, yet, do not care enough to acknowledge they are sinning against Him. I still don’t understand how someone can reject the Lord and His goodness, as well as cast hate upon him and people who love him, so easily. Family or friend, protect your children from having close relationships that are fruitless, and destructive. Our children are the most vulnerable.
We need to stop saying things so predominantly and broad like we have been– such as, “Don’t judge, judging is bad!” As a Christian, it is our place to say “Hey, this is not honoring to God, and is a sin that you should not continue committing. We can pray together, and find resources to help you break away from this, but it needs to stop.” As well as, point them in the Bible, to where it clarifies that it isn’t honoring to the Lord.
Doing things like this, can be seen as judging someone, especially to people who want to be affirmed in their sin, and affirmed in their feelings. Regrettably, we all have done that; wanted to be told we are right, just because something hurt our feelings. I know that I have, many times. Where they are saying things like “if you loved me, you wouldn’t do this!” If it is something that goes against God and His word, than it is very much our place to say so, and to offer them a helping hand in breaking free from such! They should do the same for you as well, when they see you fall and stumble in your walk of faith.
– Don’t forget what we are fighting; not the sinner, the sin.
Ephesians 6:12 (ESV) “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.”
- If you are afraid to confront sin, to have confrontations, or just afraid of rejection. Maybe you’re just utterly afraid to hurt someone, even while knowing it’s the truth you are speaking. I encourage you to read these verses and then both of these chapters, fully.
Psalm 94:14 (ESV) “For the Lord will not forsake his people; he will not abandon his heritage;”
Ephesians 4:15 (ESV) “ Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into christ,”
- Test the word before you confront someone about a potential sin, making sure that this is something that is truly not honoring to the Lord, and is actually causing them to stumble before God. We are meant to lift our brothers/sisters in Christ up, not tear them down. Point them to the truth, and pray for them, regardless if the truth is horribly unappealing to the ears to hear, say it anyways. That, is far from tearing them down. I even encourage you, if they don’t agree with you and think you’re absolutely absurd, have them point out in the Bible where what they are doing, stands for being honoring to God. Talk this out, and pray for each other. Something like this shouldn’t really be a short conversation. It may not be an easy one, either.
John 14:6 (ESV) “Jesus said to him, I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
2 Timothy 2:24-26 (ESV) ”And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.”
1 Thessalonians 5:21 (ESV) “But test everything; hold fast to what is good.
James 5:16 (ESV) “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.”
Bringing the bible into those conversations, pointing out what part of the scriptures that makes you so firmly believe whatever they are doing goes against God, will help immensely; rather than you just saying “oh, it’s cause the bible says so.” However, this is not an opportunity to become prideful, and self-righteous over someone who is struggling. While we are saved by the grace of God (once we accept Jesus into our hearts), we all still make sinful errors and we must remember, we are called to lift others up. This is what we discuss next.
To Be Continued…