UpBeat Spiritual Living: Worried for a Friend?
One year, several people came to me for pastoral counseling about a prominent colleague. They felt they could not talk to this man directly, because he was making some lifestyle choices that seemed very unwise. Yet, he was determined to go on. The choices he was making would possibly cost him his reputation, and also possibly his job. As word was spreading about his new choices, more and more people were upset. If this went on for a few more months, many relationships would be affected and possibly many people alienated.
It was a good thing for that organization that people were turning to prayer, scripture, and pastoral counseling for direction. People loved this man and were worried about him. If you are ever in the situation of being worried about a friend’s change in behavior and life choices, here are some points to ponder.
● Temptation can keep us thinking mainly of…that temptation. This goes for the man with the colorful lifestyle choices, as well as those who can’t stop thinking about his colorful lifestyle choices. This can cycle on and on and on. However, if we discipline ourselves to focus on the things of the spirit, we can fill ourselves with things of the spirit, and there is no room for fleshly/worldly temptations/compulsions/addictions. I love this slogan: “Feed your faith and doubt will starve to death.” Worry and temptation will also starve to death. Romans 8:5 offers: “For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the spirit.”
● It is crucial to keep your own internal peace. God will deal with those who stir up strife generally or who upset you. Their bad or risky behavior is actually not your concern. Isaiah 54:15 offers: “If anyone stirs up strife it is not from me; whoever stirs up strife with you shall fall because of you.”
● We need to trust God to handle it and stop tuning in to The Worry Channel (TWC). God has it in hand. Everything is working out for overall good. Romans 8:28 offers: “We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to His purposes.”
The bottom line is: we cannot solve another person’s problems, however destructive they may appear to be. Especially with another adult, it will not work to presume the person wants our ideas of how they need to change. Unless they ask. Until they do ask for our thoughts, we can pray for them, fill our hearts and minds with positive spiritual thoughts, and offer to be there for them, should they feel like opening up. Be available. Stay strong.
● Rev. Kebba Buckley Button is the author of the 2012 book, Peace Within: Your Peaceful Inner Core.
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