Anonymous asked: One of my best friends grew up poor, was abused in all forms as a child. She became pregnant at the age of 18, to a cheating boyfriend that left her halfway through the pregnancy. So she moved to a shelter and started working full time. She got saved about 3 years later, and at the age of 22, she was offered a scholarship to a fantastic, ivy league school. She went through her first year of college and unfortunately failed three classes last semester.
While in school, she had a battle with her faith and stopped serving, frequenting church, reading the bible and praying. I don’t know how to talk to her, because I want to say something about her behavior, and I don’t think that’s my place. I know what it means to fall from faith and it was one of the hardest years of my life. I don’t know what my question is… maybe it’s to give me strength and to help me remember to pray for her while she goes through this. That’s not a question either… I guess it was to vent. So thank you for reading. [edited for length]
Unka Glen answered: LOL, that’s some good venting right there. And you’re right to be both concerned for your friend, and concerned about speaking out of turn. I can tell you personally, I almost never give advice unless it’s asked for. Very rarely, in the case of a real emergency, I’ll give advice that wasn’t really asked for, but even then, I’m only doing it in situations where I’ve earned the right to be heard.
Here’s the problem: you’re trying to think of the magic words that will make her pull up and stop all this backsliding RIGHT NOW, before things get any worse. But what if I asked you to think of this problem a different way, what if I asked you to think of something you could say today, that would be the thing that eventually brings her around. The thing that she remembers and can’t get out of her head.
I’ll bet that you already have a few ideas of things you could say, even as you read this. The thing that keeps us stuck is the element of time. It’s that right now mentality (which of course we have because we don’t want to see people get hurt). Thus, the ministry principle: knowing how to “play for time”.
Jesus said talking to people in situations like this should be like planting a seed. When you plant a seed, you can’t see it working, and you don’t know when it’ll break ground, but it’s in there, and when the time is right, it’s going to do its job.
So here a few examples of “seed planting” statements:
— If you weren’t meant to do something great for the Kingdom, why has the devil been working on you so hard all this time?
— When you’re done with whatever this is, call me. I don’t judge, I won’t ever look down on you. When you’re ready, I’ll be ready.
— God’s mercies are new every day. “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning” (Lamentations 3:22-23)
You get the idea. Balance your compassion with patience and know the peace of believers who are certain that the future belongs to those who plant a seed in love.