When Good Friends Make Bad Choices

We’ve all been there. Someone we care deeply about is contemplating – or actively pursuing – something (or someone!) terrible. What do we do?

As a confrontation-hater, I like to “just pray about it” and avoid the person. God can change them, right? And He is in control. So He will make sure that loved one gets the message.  I’ll jump back in once God has done His thing….Until, as a confrontation-hater-that-occasionally-explodes, I just can’t take it anymore and then I say something I deeply regret.

This strategy doesn’t really work all that well.

And it’s definitely not biblical.

God certainly calls us to pray for our brothers and sisters. But we are also called to action. Galatian 6:1 tells us that believers should seek to restore someone who is in sin. Matthew 18 shows us how to do it: 1) confront the person one-on-one 2) if he/she doesn’t listen, bring in another person 3) if the person still doesn’t listen, bring him/her before the church.

God takes sin seriously. Sin keeps us from fully experiencing His purpose in our lives, from doing what God has called us to do, from knowing Him. How can we say we love someone, then, if we allow him/her to continue in sin? If we “just pray about it”, but do nothing to stop him/her?

This means that even us confrontation-haters need to confront – one-on-one first, then with someone else, if that isn’t effective. We need to be willing to bring in church leaders, as necessary, if the second step fails.

We don’t do this because we’re angry or harsh or judgmental, but because we love people too much to allow them to continue down a path that will destroy them. Occasionally, this means that we have to establish boundaries that mean a relationship is put on hold. Again, not because we are angry or trying to hurt someone, but because sin is serious. We are called to reflect God in every way – His love and His righteousness.

Proverbs 27:6 says, “Faithful are the wounds of a friend…” Sometimes, the greatest love we can show someone is to refuse to enable them to continue walking down a path that will destroy them.

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