Earlier in the week, I was trying to help a close Christian friend with a problem that has been bugging him for months. The core of the problem was easy to identify,but neither one of us could find any common ground to discuss the solution. This was nothing personal between the two of us, but more to do with how his pastor held to a double standard concerning his daughters out of wedlock pregnancy. My friend felt offended because this pastor married his daughter while taking a blind-eye to her open sin, but refused to marry his cousin because he was living with his wife to be. Some times no matter how you try to listen and understand, it’s just not possible to connect and move forward. Sometimes the stumbling block is just too heavy to be moved! When asked what I would do, I gave him some advice from the Scriptures and warned that two wrongs do not make a right.
1 Thessalonians 5:12-22 (NASB)
12 But we request of you, brethren, that you appreciate those who diligently labor among you, and have charge over you in the Lord and give you instruction,
13 and that you esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Live in peace with one another.
14 We urge you, brethren, admonish the unruly, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with everyone.
15 See that no one repays another with evil for evil, but always seek after that which is good for one another and for all people.
16 Rejoice always;
17 pray without ceasing;
18 in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
19 Do not quench the Spirit;
20 do not despise prophetic utterances.
21 But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good;
22 abstain from every form of evil.
What I took from this discussion is sometimes we must walk away and simply pray. Sometimes our words can do nothing to comfort and help our fellow Christians. What we can do is live in peace with them, be patient, and pray for them as they seek instruction from the Lord. We can hold fast to our truths while not compromising just because the person we are helping is a close friend. The mark of a true friend is one that will help you when you need it and warn you when you don’t want to hear it.
And just so my readers know, my dear friend in question reads my blog. I just wanted to share this story with all of you in hopes that it will encourage you in some way. Please join me in prayer for my friend, his family, and his church.
1 Thessalonians 5:25 (NIV)
25 Brothers and sisters, pray for us.