Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Friends and Forgiveness ~ A Guest Post By Robin Warren

Have you ever had a friend who was just crazy enough to toilet paper a house with you?  Maybe I should ask if you’ve ever toilet papered a house before.  The sad thing about that question is you would think that was something that I did as a teenager (I did).  The truth is that the last time I did it was only a few years ago.  I’m an expert.  Are you surprised?  Are you shocked?  Do you think that’s a terrible thing to do?  Where I come from, it’s usually something you do to friends you love and appreciate.  (What can I say; I grew up in Utah.  They have strange traditions out West.)

We experience different levels of friendship as people come and go in our lives.  Some become close, and some are more like blessed acquaintances.  With some friends you can share your deepest secrets, and with others, you simply enjoy their company, but cannot get past that surface level.  I have many friends, but only a few are invested deeply enough in me to handle what I sometimes dish out.  Those kinds of friends are a rare find, and turnabout is fair play.  In other words, if I can dish it out, I need to be able to take it as well.
That’s why it’s so difficult to watch one of your friends make poor choices. 
One of the biggest fears I think most people have is that if we are honest with a friend, she will walk away and never look back.  Friendship should never be based on the fear that honesty will drive someone away. Yes, honesty in friendship can be painful.  But if you are speaking actual truth (not just some perception) and speaking it in love, a true friend should give you a fair hearing—even if you agree to disagree.

Sometimes even our dearest of friends will hurt us by choosing to disregard any warning.  Forgiveness, even without resolution, is all part of that “Friendship” package.  The sad truth for most of us is that it’s really scary to stand up to a friend.  The real tragedy happens when we’re willing to let someone go the wrong direction rather than offend her.  What a loss!—and, by the way, it’s a cowardly way out and doesn’t stop the pain!  (Preaching to myself here.)  How can you be a true friend and let that friend continue down the path to destruction without throwing a flag? 
Confrontation is difficult
“Faithful are the wounds of a friend.” Proverbs 27:6

Deciding to talk to a friend who is making a devastating choice requires preparation. You will need much prayer and wisdom (borne up by scripture and sometimes by other Godly people).  A knee-jerk response is rarely the best way to proceed.  Trust me; I speak from experience.  With hindsight I say, “Lord, why didn’t you put my foot in my mouth to stop me?”
Sometimes you’ll lose a friend when you stand up to her, but at least you will know you did the right thing.  You will still love and pray for her, and be there for her (if possible), and in the end, your friendship may eventually be restored.  When it does happen after such a difficult confrontation, restoration is a fantastic blessing.  I’ve experienced this personally, and I thank God for the friend I still l have.

Ultimately, all you can do is place your BFF in the Lord’s hands.  Don’t worry.  I hear He has plenty of room, and He’ll never drop her.

In the meantime, God bless and keep you all!

Robin Warren is the wife of Mark Warren, pastor of Richland Baptist Church in Zephyrhills, Florida.  Raised in Utah and the daughter of a Baptist pastor, she has lived in a “fishbowl” for most of her life.  She and Mark have two beautiful daughters and NO pets.

Though her passion is to minister to pastor’s wives, she also works with wives in general, helping them to realize their potential and to know that they are not crazy and they are not alone.  She tries to accomplish this through sharing her love of her Savior and with a sprinkling of humor.

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