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Friendship in the face of difficulty(long post).

Discussion in 'Requests for Christian Advice' started by Lucid1, May 20, 2011.

  1. Lucid1

    Lucid1 Newbie

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    About 2 years ago I met a wonderful woman where I work. A few weeks before Christmas of '09 she approached me with tears in her eyes and told me that her ex-husband wasnt paying his child support and that she was not going to be able to give her two girls(ages 7 and 4) any gifts for Christmas, and she asked if I knew of a way that she could get some help. My heart broke at that very moment and I told her I would see what I could do. I approached the head of our department and told him about her situation and asked if we could do a private fundraiser where other employees were asked to contribute.

    My department head is a devout Christian man and without hesitation he approved the idea and put me in charge of making it happen. We raised a modest sum of money and those funds were used to buy gifts for her two girls. I asked if I could deliver the gifts and my department head approved.

    A few days before Christmas I arrived at her house with the gifts and proceeded to carry them inside. She made me a cup of coffee and we both talked about a myriad of things as we both wrapped the presents. A short time later her ex-husband arrived with her two daughters and that's when I met two of the sweetest angels that God has seen fit to put on this earth.

    Ever since that day we have become close friends. Knowing that I am also a Christian, she has told me a lot of things about her past and has confided a lot of things to me that others might have judged her harshly on.

    This is where my question(s) about certain behaviors of hers stems from.

    I believe in unconditional love, and as a Christian and a friend I never try to judge another person, so this is where it gets complicated.

    A few weeks ago she called me and told me that she had recommitted herself to God at her church, and that she wasnt proud of how she has handled herself as a Christian due to how she had been bringing multiple strange men into her home, and around her two daughters, since her divorce. I told her that I would pray for her and that I was glad that she had made the decision to re-dedicate her life to God.

    Well, since the day that she told me about her re-dedication, I have found out that she continues to have strange men, that she meets on a whim, into her home for one-night stands. Being her friend and respectful of her privacy I decided not to approach her about this when I found out about this.

    Earlier today she called and asked if I would like to come over and have dinner with her and her two girls. I graciously accepted and arrived a little early so as to spend some time teaching her oldest daughter how to throw and catch a softball. When I arrived there was an unknown man getting into his car to leave. I could see from the look on her face that she wasnt happy with knowing that I had seen this guy, but I shrugged it off and focused my attention on getting the ball and gloves with her daughter. She went back inside to get dinner finished and I stayed outside with her daughter playing catch.

    After a few minutes of playing catch I could sense something was wrong her daughter, so I asked if everything was ok. Her daughter proceeded to tell me that she didnt like the man that had just left because he had yelled at her mommy and made her cry. I told her that he was gone now and that everything would be ok and shifted the focus back to how she could improve her throw. I was a complete mess at this point and had to fight to contain myself knowing that someone had verbally abused my friend.

    After dinner the kids went outside to play and I decided to ask about the man that was leaving and told her what her daughter had told me. She grew angry with me and told me that it was none of my bussiness and started to cry. At this point I asked if there was anything I could do and she simply asked me to continue to pray for her. I didnt pry any further and after a few minutes I said goodbye to her and her daughters and went home. About an hour later she called me and asks if I was upset with her due to leaving so soon after the discussion. I told her that I was not upset with her, but that I was concerned about her daughters and the message that she was sending them by repeatedly bringing strange men into her home, especially in light of this last guy verbally abusing her.

    She agreed, but she threw in the caveat that God and only God will hold her accountable in the end, and that as her friend I shouldnt judge her. I told her that I wasnt judging her, and all that I would ask of her is that she consider her two daughters in all of this and continue to ask God for guidance.

    I know this is a long post, and I really appreciate anyone who spends the time to read all of this and provide some guidance for my questions:

    I know that being a friend and a Christian arent mutually exclusive, but I'm really having a hard time not wanting to hold her accountable as a friend. What I mean by that is that I have always been taught that birds of a feather flock together, and that people choose their social groups(friends) based on compatible beliefs and whatnot, and if I see a friend in need of guidance I feel compelled to offer advice in a tactful, Christian manner.

    As a child of God I really love this woman. I see so much potential in her and I know that God had some great plan for her, but where do we as Christians draw the line with behavior that we do not consider appropriate from people who are friends?

    If we dont condone certain behaviors, does that mean as Christians we are being judgemental? I dont want to dump her as a friend, but I also cannot condone what she is doing and am having a difficult time with this.

    I really need some Christian advice.
     
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  2. LWB

    LWB Regular Member

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    Greetings Lucid1,

    I read your post with interest and appreciate what a difficult situation you are in. I am persuaded by the wisdom of Paul as recorded in 1st Corinthians chapter 5.

    I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or swindler. Do not even eat with such people. What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside.

    I don't think you should dump her as a friend, but I can't see how carefree fellowship can continue until the immorality has been dealt with. We do have the right to judge fellow Christians, for the sake of our own health, and the health of the Church.
     
  3. singpeace

    singpeace Senior Member Supporter

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    Hi Lucid.

    First let me say how grateful I am to see the love of Christ dwelling so richly in you. You are a true friend to this woman, and she and her daughters are blessed to have you in their lives.

    Second, I have a lot of difficulty believing she actually re-dedicated her life to Christ. Perhaps on the spur of the moment she tried; but her fruit speak otherwise. You are right to hold her accountable. So many strange men coming and going will become a significant point in her daughters' development both emotionally and spiritually. What they grow accustomed to and comfortable with is what they will eventually choose for themselves barring a miracle.

    Next, I think of Gomer; the prostitute God told Hosea to marry. Of course this real-life relationship was God's way of mirroring his relationship with Israel. Yet, God continued to rescue Israel when they repented and called out to him. Hosea continued to rescue Gomer from herself.

    I can see your dilemma. There are Christ's commandments concerning forgiveness, judging, returning love for hate, etc. Yet, He also says that we shall know by one's fruit if he/she is a true follower of Christ.

    Paul speaks of those that profess Christ, yet live and practice willful sin.

    If she did accept Christ as her Savior, I believe there would be a repulsion within her to this kind of sin and a deep desire toward righteousness and obedience to God.

    All this typing, and I'm as confused as I was.

    All I know to do at this point is pray for you, your friend, and her daughters. This has to be hard for you.

    Last, my advice for you is to pour your heart out to God about it. Ask for wisdom wisdom wisdom and the discernment of spirits. Ask him to give you a clear sign what His will is for you now.


    Father God, what mercy there awaits the broken in spirit; the destitute and wandering lamb. What mercies You have bestowed upon us and upon the world that You would give your Son. How marvelous in our eyes is this demonstration of the fruit of the Spirit in your son, Lucid.

    Lord, I want to pray like David prayed when he was ensnared, surrounded, grief-stricken, and in despair. In my heart, I feel sorrow and anger, and I want to be harsh. I also feel hurt for this woman is so broken and blind.

    God, You are merciful. Be merciful today. Bring about the destruction of the forces which have ensnared this precious woman. Come running and clean house, Lord. Make her to see what she cannot see. Snatch her from the grips of evil and make her clean and whole.

    Father, I ask that You protect these little girls. Keep them from being molded by the sin of their mother; instead, begin molding them for Your glory and make them to be virtuous women.

    Help Lucid to carry out any instructions You give. Give him perfect peace concerning your will. Bless him in return for the seed he has sown and watered, and for the many times he has given. Let it be given to him; pressed down, shaken together, and running over. In Jesus name I pray. Amen.
     
  4. Terene

    Terene Bondslave of Jesus Christ

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    Praise the Lord brother, that you have shown such love for a sister like her. God is indeed with you abundantly, so rejoice yet in Him even though you are troubled!

    The brethren here have given you sound advice, but I would like to add a new perspective to this.

    You are completely right in not condoning her behavior, and you never should. Instead, you ought to do your best to let her know that if she continues to do this she will face dire consequences. Warn her from the Word of God, and pray to the Lord to give you wisdom in this so that it will be effective in her conversion.

    But I have been wondering the following: Could our God be using you in this situation to turn her from her sins? I am not saying this is definitely the case, but the fact that you have been able to meet her in such a situation could be the work of God. I advise you to fervently pray about this, and if possible, go on fasting to seek God's will in this. Do not come to decisions hastly and allow a sister to perish in her backsliden state when God is using you to bring her back to Him.

    While you wait for an answer from God in this matter, you can prayerfully study the Word so that while you are still with her as a friend, you can do what you can to restore her into God's salvation, because indeed, if she continues in her backsliden and unrepentant state, she would reap destruction because of her sins. Not only so, she is setting a very bad example for her daughters, who ought to be taught the right way of God.

    Do you have any chances to get close with her daughters? If so, it might be good to talk to her daughters about this and instruct them in the right way of God so that they aren't influenced by their mother's ungodly acts. I say this because I am also concerned about her daughters, who are beloved in God. Again, pray to God about this and let Him guide you.

    I have prayed for you in this matter and I know God will work in you to do His good will. May our God have mercy on this sister and restore her to the salvation she has now lost!
     
  5. Gabe7

    Gabe7 Active Member

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    Pray for guidance on how Jesus would handle such a situation. Jesus hung out with a whore. Did she change her ways after she met Jesus? The world is full of broken people who just want to be loved and accepted.
     
  6. LilLamb219

    LilLamb219 The Lamb is gone Supporter

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    Does this woman seem interested in having you as a boyfriend or merely friend? If boyfriend, then she's disrespecting you completely by being with other men. I'd run if that were the case!
     
  7. paul1149

    paul1149 that your faith might rest in the power of God Supporter

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    It's hard to know where to draw the line sometimes. We want to be as open and accepting as possible:

    A bruised reed He will not break; smoldering flaxen He will not extinguish.​

    but there is a place where bearing witness, and even shunning, is called for:

    If anyone does not obey what we say in this letter, take note of that person, and have nothing to do with him, that he may be ashamed. Do not regard him as an enemy, but warn him as a brother. -2Thess 3:14-15 (Also see 1Cor 5)​

    The question is how serious the offense is, and how best to allow the Holy Spirit to deal with it:

    If anyone sees his brother committing a sin not leading to death, he shall ask, and God will give him life-to those who commit sins that do not lead to death.
    There is sin that leads to death; I do not say that one should pray for that.
    All wrongdoing is sin, but there is sin that does not lead to death.
    We know that everyone who has been born of God does not keep on sinning.. -1John 5:16-18

    There is a place where withholding judgment amounts to condoning sin; where creating some distance is the best way to make clear the need for change. But if it comes to that, it's critical to affirm love in that place, lest the bruised reed be broken, and the smoldering flaxen of what God is doing be extinguished.

    Your friend is fortunate to have someone who cares for her as you do. And she sounds sensitive toward her behavior, and that she doesn't want to lose you as a friend. I pray the Lord gives you wisdom and leads you in such a way that you can help her to better respond to the high call of God in Christ Jesus.
     
  8. Vimi

    Vimi Vessel

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    Hi Lucid1:wave:. I think your friend has clearly drawn her boundary lines. Now it is time for the fun part-- set your own boundaries. You might want to refrain from going by her house and instead meet her and the kids in public places. It's for your safety and also to protect your witness (don't want your good will to be interpreted as ungodly intentions).

    Remember, you are setting examples for those kids too. To them, you are another man coming by to see their mom, just a nicer one, but all the same in their minds. So meet them at public events and don't run to her every time she calls. God is the superhero here, not us. He has to get all the glory for Himself.

    Pray for her and the kids. Let the Lord do His job - drawing, saving, healing, restoring, rescuing, delivering, judging, etc. Then if you do yours - keep your candle trimmed and burning bright -- everyone will be blessed and God will get all the glory! :clap:
     
  9. Lucid1

    Lucid1 Newbie

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    Thank you so much for your comment.

    The last sentence of your comment is what is the most difficult part of this for me as a Christian. Striking a balance between caring for someone as a Christian, and caring for them as a friend in todays world is becoming increasingly difficult. I'm a patient man, in that I have as much time on this earth, as allowed by God, to pray, wait and hope that my support will be a catalyst that ultimately leads her away from this immoral behavior.
     
  10. Lucid1

    Lucid1 Newbie

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    Thank you for such a lovely prayer!

    She has been in Church all of her life. Between myself and her mother, we have both been instrumental in keeping her as grounded in her faith as is possible without being demanding. She has severe self esteem issues, which causes her to be very open with her heart and succeptible to men with sexual agendas, who can see her weakness from a mile away and proceeds to swoop in and say things she likes to hear just to manipulate her into bed. I realize she has deep rooted emotional problems, and that is what makes all of this so difficult because it seems to be a coping mechanism that she has come to learn to use in order to get over the hurt of her divorce.

    Telling her this behavior is not spiritually or emotionally healthy is tricky because I dont want to push her away if she interprets what I tell her as being judgemental. I tell her that I will love her no matter what, but all she hears is that I'm trying to tell her how to live her life. I am preparing myself if she should decide to build a wall and shut me out, and it will be painful if she does, but my strength in Christ is sufficient enough to keep me grounded in my own scruples and morals while knowing that I am trying to do the right thing.

    Again, finding that balance between being a friend and a Christian is so very difficult.
     
  11. Lucid1

    Lucid1 Newbie

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    Thank you for your comment.

    Let me be clear about this - I'm almost twice her age and this is a strictly platonic friendship. The trust that her and I have for each other is solid and has developed over the past two years of knowing each other. In short, I have no doubt that God smiles when he looks at my heart and sees what my intentions are where she is concerned. :)
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2011
  12. arj1981

    arj1981 Well-Known Member

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    Good answer. That verse says it all.
     
  13. Gabe7

    Gabe7 Active Member

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    Maybe if you dated her she would be with a man who wasn't a scum bag.
     
  14. Maremma

    Maremma Regular Member

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    Hmm, you said she only recommitted herself to God a few weeks ago. You said she was around the church her whole life. Now can you tell me for sure whether she REALLY has had an encounter with Jesus and she REALLY understood it and was able to make a REAL commitment to Him? When she told you she recommitted herself what was her demeanor? Is that ALL she said? No excitement or going on and on for a while about the conversion of her heart? No "lightbulb in her head" going on kind of moments?

    Please don't abandon her because of this just yet. I get the "feel" from this that she is not REALLY there yet. Her heart is still seeking but there are still parts of her that are not able to accept Him.(She is obviously dealing with a spirit of rejection and that can seriously interfere with someone being ABLE to completely commit to Jesus) You rejecting her right now would most likely be disastrous for her spiritual growth.

    I went through this with my son. Others had this "idea" in their heads that he had chose to become a Christian but I could clearly see and feel that he had not yet had the personal encounter with the Lord that causes the true conversion to Christian. This went on for months before he REALLY chose to accept Christ as his savior. When THAT day came there was no doubt. Before he even opened his mouth to start telling me all about it I could FEEL the Holy Spirit in him and knew.
     
  15. Lucid1

    Lucid1 Newbie

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    Thank you for your comment!

    I'm leary of putting myself into a position of trying to determine whether or not she had an actual soul saving moment with her re-dedication. As a friend I feel more comfortable being supportive and giving her the love that I feel she needs as a sister in Christ. As a Christian I feel compelled to look at her behavior and weigh that against her claim of re-dedication. The two are at odds with each other, and I'm desparately trying to find a middle ground from which to operate here, but I really dont think that getting into an n'th degree analysis of her "re-dedication" would be fruitful at this point. Would I not be guilty of judging her salvation if I did so?
     
    Last edited: May 22, 2011
  16. lutherangerman

    lutherangerman Senior Member

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    I don't know any good advice, but I will just pray for you.
     
  17. Lucid1

    Lucid1 Newbie

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    I wanted to update those who responded here with how things have gone since I made my original post.

    Since making this post, my friend has gone through 2 different relationships with men and is now currently with number 3.

    We have spoken almost everyday at work and I have avoided focusing on her relationships in any of our conversations. We've had lunch together a few times since the conversation that sparked my post, and the conversations have all been warm and friendly. Last night around 7pm I received a text from her that simply stated: "I cant talk to you anymore".

    We hardly ever text each other, maybe on the order of a dozen times in the past year, so for me to get this kind of text from her was surprising. I didnt quite know what to make of it, so I texted her back and asked: "what do you mean? Why this kind of text out of no where?". She responded with: "it means I can no longer talk to you anymore. "J" (her new boyfriend) doesnt want me to be friends with you."

    I see this as controlling behavior by her new BF, and it raises red flags in my heart knowing the types of men that she has dated in the past. I didnt want to say anything judgemental, so I texted her this back: "You know my heart, and my main wish is that you find a good, honest, God fearing man for you and those two girls of yours. I pray this "J" is that man for you. It saddens me to know that he doesnt want you to talk with me anymore, but if those are his wishes, then I will honor him as I have honored you. I will always be your friend in Christ, and I will always be there if you ever need to talk or pray, so keep that in mind. G'night." She responded with: "He's not a Christian, but I do love him. If that means that I cant get married in my Church, then so be it. Bye".

    I dont know what to make of this, as it all transpired in the course of about 10 minutes of texting. She has only known this guy for a month or so now, and it baffles me to know he has had this kind of influence on her in such a short time. What pains me most is knowing that he is the one asking her to give up her friendship with me.

    Did I make a mistake by telling her that I would always be her friend in Christ, and that I would always be there for her if she needs me? I didnt want to just outright make it sound like I was totally abandoning her as a friend.

    Any thoughts or prayers are most welcome.
     
  18. lutherangerman

    lutherangerman Senior Member

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    Just as an idea, if you talk with this woman about sin, make it more about a kind of illness than a legal offense. Jesus is describing Himself as the Great Physician ... and His concern is more that we get rid of sin (through forgiveness but also through repentance), than that we cower in fear of it. I also believe that Jesus is realistic and simply knows that sin is part of the human life in this day and age. He keeps us in His grace despite of the many sins that we do. I know what this woman thinks when she tells you all the time to please not be judgmental. She has contracted a variant of the sin disease called fornication. I don't know why exactly she does it, but she is simply being unresponsible about it. She doesn't seem to advance in her christian walk like we have to do lest we loose track. My sister is in a similar condition, she has a faint belief in God and has been baptized and confirmed and everything, but she doesn't do anything so God can draw her closer to Himself, doesn't go to church, doesn't read, doesn't have any fellowship with other christians. That's not good, and again I don't mean that in a legal sense. She just doesn't have the fullness of life she could have and misses out on much happiness. So if you are with this woman perhaps you should express sadness mixed with empathy. Never anger and stuff like that, just your sorrow that she isn't going down a healthy and good road. Pray about it.

    I do think your friend will call you again eventually. If she doesn't after a few weeks send her a long email and tell her she is your friend and that you miss her and that you share a bit of life with each other which is something precious and which is something a good boyfriend would never forbid in any way.

    I have prayed for you.
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2011
  19. Terene

    Terene Bondslave of Jesus Christ

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    Dear brother,

    I do not want to sound harsh, but I think it is time we have to deal with the facts. You have done everything you can for her, and have shown her the support of a brother in Christ. I believe our God has used you to turn her back unto Him again, but from what you are writing, she clearly has not responded to God's call. Whether she is under some bad influences or not I don't know (and I hope not), but there is nothing anyone of us can do if a Christian turns away from God and refuses His chastening and mercy. Pray to God and intercede for her and ask the Lord what you should do, but know that there is a time to let go, no matter how hard it is.

    There will come a point when sin hardens her heart to the point that she will no longer be able to be brought back to repentance, I am not sure if she is already at that dire stage, but from what you depict here, she is at least coming very close to that.

    For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. (Hebrews 10:26)

    Have you ever shown her the verse above? She is treading on dangerous grounds, and if she does not turn back now (yes NOW), she will have to face the consequences of what she has done. I don't know how you have been working with her about her sin, but have you ever tried rebuking her in the Lord? Ask the Lord how you should go about this, because without the Lord we can do nothing.

    By continuing in rebellious sin willfully, she is making herself an enemy of God and is serving the devil to her own ruin. If I were her friend, I would probably have written a letter to her to rebuke her, even if it means using stern warnings from the Word to let her know what she is bringing herself into. I would not even care how she would treat me, because it is a matter of life or death. What is more, she has children who needs to be brought up in the way of the Lord, and by being so irresponsible with her life, she is putting her children in great spiritual danger.

    I don't know, but if it is even possible, I would love to write to her personally about her problem. I know this sounds absurd, and I don't think you will give me her email address or contact details since it is a personal matter between you and her. But I am truly anxious for her and her children, especially her children since they are the innocent ones who would suffer from the consequences of her sin. I hope I could do something, even if it means just writing something to her to wake her up from her rebellion. Pray to God, and if you do think it is appropriate, give me a PM on here to inform me about her email address so I can write to her via the Internet. If needs be, I can work with you together on this so we can help her in the love of Christ. Let God determine what we should do, amen.

    Do update us more about the situation, and if there is anything I can do, PM me and I'll try my best to help.

    May our God be with you and your friend.
     
  20. Lucid1

    Lucid1 Newbie

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    Terene,

    Thank you so much for your words of wisdom. There is no doubt in my mind that they are from the Holy Father himself.

    I spoke with my Pastor about this recent event and he pointed out some things that I have to bear witness to.

    He pointed out that in order for this new BF of hers to forbid her to have my friendship, that she must have spoken to him about me. I do not know how I was presented when she spoke of me to him, and I dont want to come off as sounding as if this is all about me(my OP should be indicative of that), but I have to weigh the basis of his request against whatever conversation they had about me.

    I will see her again at work in a few days, and I have already written a letter that I plan to give her at the end of the shift. In this letter I have pointed out scripture as well as make a personal plea for her to not abandon her faith in God or her Church.

    This is to be my final act with her on this issue, as I was directed by my Pastor to pull back now that she has committed herself to this man. My Pastor indicated that I have done all that I can to keep her pointed in the right direction, and seeing as how she is allowing this man to influence her choice of friends, that she is in essence submitting herself to his will and I must bow out in respect to that. Whether or not God is, or will be involved in their lives, is beyond my ability to know. All I can do now is continue to smile whenever I see her, pray and hope for the best.

    I appreciate your offer to write to her, but I am not totally abandoning her even now, as the last paragraph of the letter I wrote says this:

    I pray that God continues to reign supreme in your life, and I hope you come to know the true value of God's Grace, for without it we are all lost in a world of darkness and deceit. Regardless of what happens I will always hold a beacon of light head and shoulders above the peers of the world for you to see. As long as I am alive it will never go out. You have the enduring promise of a Brother and friend in Christ should you ever need it. -C

    I think this is the best course of action at this point, and my Pastor agrees. I will continue to pray for her, and if I see a window of opportunity to influence her spiritually, I will take such opportunity without hesitation.

    May God continue to Bless you, Terene.
     
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