But if you will not listen,
my soul will weep in secret for your pride;
my eyes will weep bitterly and run down with tears,
because the Lord’s flock has been taken captive. – Jeremiah 13:17, NRSV
Sometimes, Christians make mistakes. Often, I do.
A friend of mine has been struggling under a situation for several years. I have been hurt over it, I have been angry about it, I have done the brain roll, I have cautioned her, I have listened to her, and I have prayed over her. The situation has not changed.
What do we do when people that we love are walking away from truth?
Years ago, I was engaged to a man, not my husband. I had walked away from the church and anything that I once believed hung by a thread. I had created a religious amalgam from all of my philosophical preferences. It could hardly be called spiritual, considering that it was all about me, although I would have claimed that I was spiritual.
The engagement was a mistake. It was blatantly disobedient to God’s word. In the middle of it, I rejected all wisdom. Apparently, I was so bold about it that friends and family did not question my behavior. No one said, “Hey, this isn’t the best for you”. No one.
I will be honest. In retrospect, I am most sad that no one acted on my behalf. I would like to think that people were weeping for my sin, desiring to intervene. I just don’t know that they were. How could anyone assume that I was actually happy in the middle of blatant sin? This has given me a heart for women in this position. God has sent many in my path. I find our stories similar.
The irony is that my sadness over my own situation has not changed my behavior toward my friend. I would like to say that I have wept for the sin of my friend frequently, but I have not. I would say that once or twice I have been that true of a friend.
For me, there was Paige, my Jeremiah. She actually worked for me. I still can weep from gratitude that she was sent into my life. In the midst of complete turmoil, she nudged me back. She never condemned me, but by watching her compassion and her own struggles, I was reintroduced to God’s character. She told me that she would pray for me. She was a drink of water in the barren desert.
I don’t know what she did in private, how she asked God to restore my life, but He did. Now, I am in this situation with my friend. I don’t want to hold the same assumptions that others held about me. I know, intimately, the sound of truth against a broken life. When I compared Paige’s words to my life, I could define my hopelessness. I know that heaven began preparations for my return in these moments.
For my friend I want peace, God’s love, happiness, a hope, and a future.
For Paige, I will give all the jewels in my crown and anything else she wants.
For myself, I want the heart of Jeremiah.
How do you react to a friend who is walking away from the truth?