Wednesday, July 26, 2006

What Would You Do If....

your best friend told you that she had been having an affair with a married man (and father) for the last two years?

I know, another depressing blog topic, but this has been on my mind since a friend described a scenario that she currently is dealing with with her best friend (Anna*). And I want to hear what other people think about how you handle friendship with someone who is committed to committing a continual sin because as a relatively new Christian I've never faced this issue. After listening to Tim Keller's sermon on Pride, I realize that I'm continually sinning in that area of my life; I had no idea how prideful I am, and I now know that I am even more imperfect than I already realized. The difference in my mind is that I'm at least trying (sometimes seemingly in vain) to change my heart and my ways. I will say that I have definitely committed continual sins (without repentance at the time), and no one ever called me out on it. No one said a word. It was in part because my friends at that time in my life weren't "strong Christians," were not vocal about their beliefs, and/or were doing the same as I was. I am so grateful now for Christian friends who encourage me and (at least to some extent) help hold me accountable.

Because Anna knew that my friend would not approve of the affair, she hid it from her until recently. Since then she has mentioned trying to end it and how hard it is, but beyond a few words, they haven't had any conversations about it. My friend is still hurt that Anna misled her for two years and is, of course, discouraged that Anna is participating in an affair. I advised my friend to have a private face to face conversation with Anna and express all of her concerns as well as her love for Anna and her desire for Anna to have something better than a secret relationship with a married man (that is clearly against God's will for her life). My friend knows that it will be futile because Anna is a Christian and she already knows it's wrong.

I suppose my query, and perhaps it is the wrong question, is whether my friend should continue being friends with Anna if she persists in this continual sin. By ending the friendship, are you refusing to love your friend unconditionally? Are you being too judgmental? Are you missing out on an opportunity to witness to her and lead by example? By continuing the friendship, are you supporting Anna in her continual sin? And if I were Anna's friend (who happens to know the married man and his family), I'd have a hard time even liking her knowing this about her because I know what havoc this affair could cause. With that being said, I'm reminded of the Lord's love for each of us despite his knowledge of how depraved we are and what hurt we cause each other. It's nothing short of amazing.

4 comments:

kimberly said...

This hits close to home for me, because how many friends do I have who are having affairs of some sort(premarital or extramarital) and I do nothing to confront it? I think I am trying to concentrate on the log in my own eye...but it sounds like this girl's friend gave her an opportunity to discuss it and so she might be willing to talk about it. Perhaps the friend could just ask questions...how are you doing, how has this affected you, how do you feel about it, what do you think God is telling you about it? I think we have to "speak the truth in love" which means not leaving out the truth or the love. But if she already knows it's wrong, she may just need support and encouragement to make the decision that she already knows she needs to make...and the grace to know that she is loved just like all of us even when we screw up. It is a dicey topic though when you start talking about confronting sin...I think it is easier to do in the context of trust and friendship.

kimberly said...

you could also throw spiritual affairs into that equation...what am I placing in the role that God should have in my life? whew...

Ally said...

Kimberly I'm definitely going to pass on the questions you mentioned and your suggestions to my friend. Thanks. Confronting sin is tough stuff, and I think one step in the right direction in this arena is more people being open about the sins they've struggled with and how they've dealt with it. Just having a dialogue about sin in a personal context can foster the type of relationships where people feel comfortable speaking in both truth and love--and confronting sin when necessary. So many churches and so many Christians seem to forget that we're not perfect nor do we have to pretend to be.

Aaron said...

I believe that severing all ties with your friend just because you disagreed with their behavior would send the wrong message.

A true friend would stick by you, thick-and-thin. Just because you don't support their behavior, does not mean that you can't continue to try and set a Christian example.