I need advice from other "Born Again" Christians... I need Godly advice.
January 7, 2007 8:52am CST
I was raised in a great, "intact", Christian home. My parents were prime examples teaching my sister and me the ways of God and what He would want from us. Of course, that doesn't mean I grewe up perfect, but they definitely laid a great foundation for serving God for life. As a kid, I would bring friends to church and youth group. Church would have insentives, etc, for bringing friends, and taught about reaching out to others. So, that's how I tried to be. Mainly trying to bring friends who really didn't go to church or weren't active in their own. Well, now I'm 31, married and mom to 2 children. I strive to go weekly and keep our kids involved in activities and their "church family". I think it's important to have them around people with the same beliefs as us, and just the wholesome activities that are offered. My one, close, friend, since I was 12, is a single mom of 3. She has been one of my friends that used to go to church with my sister and me when we were teens. She definitely did not have a Christian upbringing, nor an intact family. So, as we got older, and she in her 20s, she started asking about church again. She started coming for a while. She seemed happy and to believe what was being presented from the Bible. But, then she stopped going. A year or 2 later, again, she started coming, and actually getting involved, and w/her children as well. I was thrilled. I guess, in a way, I wanted to be a Christian mentor to her. She even initiated getting the kids involved in our church's version of "scouts" (Royal Rangers and Missionettes). I wasn't sure at first, but the more my husband and I thought about it, the better we thought it'd be. So, on Wednesday nights, I'd take my children and she'd take her's. It was great. She was even getting involved in other activities for adults. I thought this would be great for her and her children, especially knowing how cycles repeat (like single parent house holds, and if you don't accept God as a child or young teen, there are great chances you never will). But then, I don't know what, but it's like something got into her brain/heart and told her it's not necessary to live for God or follow His Word. She hasn't been to church in months except for sometimes taking her children to the Wed. night activities. This other lady and I made a committment to pray and fast for her. So, one day, I was being way too cocky and just bluntly confronted her. Well, of course, that did not go over well at all. Now, we're still friends. And, she still hasn't been there for a Sunday service in a long time. I'm dilligently trying to pray and fast for her as I told God I wll. As a friend that knows a lot about her lifestyle, I now know I cannot be her mentor. There's too much I know I guess and I'd be almost too judgemental. I know that's not right. But, aside from praying and fasting, what else should I be doing? Thanks for any Godly advice (and prayers).
8 Jan 07
Berlynn, I am joining you in prayer for your friend. You are in a situation not uncommon to Christians. We have found a pearl of great price and an abundant life which we want to share with others, and sometimes it breaks our hearts that they don't see what Christ has done for them. The Scriptures tell us this will happen. 1 Cor 2:14 tells us that the natural man CANNOT understand the things of God because they need to be spiritually discerned. Many other places tells us the same thing. The fact is, that while it is OUR responsibility and privilege to present the Gospel to them, it is GOD'S work to open their understanding to receive the message. God has chosen to work through His people and in answer to their prayers, and we have to be obedient to His call, but it is still HIS work and ONLY He will reach them. With regard to your friend, it would appear that you have done everything you can, and are still doing all you can, but I know how you feel. I've been there many times myself. It is not easy when you know you have the answer to her problems and the way to a real life of satisfaction, but she doesn't respond. It is heartbreaking. What we need to keep in mind is that no one knows her true spiritual condition. It is so easy for people to get caught up in a social atmosphere and go along with something on an emotional scale, or even to accept mentally what they see and hear - without a true experience of knowing Christ as Saviour and Lord. Has she ever been presented with the way of salvation? Has she ever accepted Christ as her own personal Saviour? The approach is dependent on her spiritual condition, but with limited knowledge of the case, unless you have reason to believe otherwise, I would say you need to approach this as though she has not. I don't know exactly what you mean by "bluntly confronted her" but you say you are still friends, so I guess things are OK between you and if you offended, it was not lasting. You say that as a friend you cannot be her mentor. I disagree with that. The fact that you know her well - and still love her, in spite of - puts you in a position to be just that. No one would be better qualified. You say you'd be judgemental. This is an overdone saying these days. The fact is that YOU are NOT judging. The fact is that GOD has already laid down the rules. HE has made the judgement: not you. Of course, there are various ways of presenting His judgement, and some of these could be called accusitive or judgemental. This is where your friendship comes in. You know her, you know things about her, but you still love her. You are concerned for her, and showing her God's way is NOT being judgemental, but the way to a peaceful, joyful, new life. Without knowing all the details, I would suggest that you visit her. Tell her how you feel about her. Tell her you care deeply. Tell her that it doesn't matter what she has done or is doing, it doesn't affect the way you feel. Make sure she understands before telling her that you are concerned about her spiritual condition and be equipped to present the Gospel clearly. I will be praying that you have opportunities to talk with her privately, that you will be undisturbed, that she will be responsive, that you will be given wisdom and the right words to speak, and that your friendship will be the means used to bring her into a real relationship with a loving heavenly Father through the Lord Jesus Christ. I know God will continue to bless you and use you to bless others.
• United States
8 Jan 07
Wow Cloudwatcher, thank you so much for reading, and ALL the thought you put into my posting. I think you're very right in what you've written. Thank you so much for your opinions and for praying along with me. I feel I'm in such a difficult situation. When I said I confronted her bluntly, I basically said something like, "I've noticed you haven't been in church in a while. What happened since August and November that made you think it isn't necessary?" And, she started saying how I should be concerned about my husband... (He goes to church on a pretty steady basis - that's another story, but I'm concerned about him sometimes too, not only my friend). She said that my only concern for her and the only thing I bothered with towards her is her spirituality. Those things hurt me. I don't believe they were true. I didn't only contact her about not going to church and I do tell my husband how I want him in church with me. I guess I understand what you mean about me not being judgemental. I know that Christians are supposed to help other Christians along the way, pointing out when a person is doing something they know is not right. I know I will definitely keep praying about this, and also for your atheist mylot friend. Thank you.