Friends Make a Difference – MM #56

friends-2019068_1920 PixabayWhat a difference a friend can make —particularly in your marriage! Have you ever thought about that? We probably all have friends that have made a difference in our lives by what they say and by what they do when they’re with us. Some don’t really act like friends by their toxic influence. And with those friendships, we need to beware!

The Bible warns us: “Do not be misled, ‘bad company corrupts good character.’ Come back to your senses as you ought, and stop sinning. For there are some who are ignorant of God —I say this to your shame.” (1 Corinthians 15:33-34)

Friends Can Make a Difference

But then there is the friend who acts like Jesus with skin on, who loves us in the manner of Christ. They live out the proverb, “A friend loves at all times.” (Proverbs 17:17) But lets take that a step further. What would you do about friends who see you doing something that’s hurting your marriage and they confront you on it? Would you embrace their motives and advice? Or would you push them away?

And what if you see your friend doing something harmful to their marriage? Are YOU the type of friend that would keep quiet? Or would you confront them about it?

The Bible tells us that the “wounds from a friend can be trusted. But an enemy multiplies kisses.” (Proverbs 27:6) The footnote explanation for this verse in the Life Application Bible says something worth thinking about on this matter. It reads:

“Who would prefer a friend’s wounds to an enemy’s kisses? It would be anyone who considers the source. A friend who has your best interests at heart may have to give you unpleasant advice at times. But you know it is for your own good. An enemy, by contrast, may whisper sweet words and happily send you on your way to ruin. We tend to hear what we want to hear, even if an enemy is the only one who will say it. A friend’s advice, no matter how painful, is much better.”

Friends Confront

We live in a time where the world teaches us to mind our own business —especially when it concerns a matter that can be awkward. And yet, is that really the way God has called us to live? Minding our own business might save us discomfort. But is that what Jesus did? Did He go about His life minding His own business? Was He hesitant to confront those who were living their lives contrary to how God would have them?

As we read the Bible, we see that Jesus was quite confrontational with those who claimed to love God and yet lived their lives in contrary ways. And He told others to follow His example. We are challenging you to do the same, as the Lord has challenged us concerning our friendships as well. We also have an article posted in the Assorted Marriage Issues topic, which goes into depth further on this matter. It’s titled Friendships and How They Influence a Marriage. You might find it helpful.

Concerning this matter, we urge you not to stay silent when you see married friends who are not living out their marriage vows. If you witness this happening to your friends, ask the Lord to show you how to lovingly confront them before further damage is done to their marriage and the Lord’s testimony.

“See to it that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.” (Hebrews 3:12-13)

Friends Support One Another

One of the definitions in the dictionary for the word “friend” is, “A person on the same side in a struggle —a supporter.” That’s what we strive to be in the lives of those God brings across our paths. And that’s what we pray you will be for those around you. As born-again Believers in Christ, we’re on the same side in the struggle against that, which is wrong. We’re not to be “nit-picky” about every little fault our friends have. But we also are not to stay silent about that, which is blatantly wrong and harmful. We’re to poke holes in darkness even when it brings discomfort.

We need to speak up to confront those who profess to be Christians who are dishonoring each other in their marriages. The Christian marriage is to be a visible, living example of the love of Christ in action with how we interact with each other. And if each one of us takes this mission seriously, those who don’t know Christ will be able to see the love of God all the more clearly. As Bible teacher and historian Ray Vander Laan said:

“Our job is to live so publicly —so front and center, that as people see us, they see God. God puts us in the world so that as they see us they say, ‘Your God must be something else! I want to know Him as you do’.”

Friends Become Involved

With this in mind, we’d like to share something written by Henry and Richard Blackaby. We pray that the Lord will speak to your hearts as He has ours on this subject of being a true friend to those around us. They write:

“We live in a world that teaches us to mind our own business. We try not to get involved in other people’s problems. Frankly, we tell ourselves it’s not our place. This attitude is completely opposite to what the Bible teaches. As Christians, we’re called to become involved in the lives of others, especially when we see someone headed for trouble. It’s actually our responsibility, when we see a fellow believer drifting toward sin, to warn that person of the dangers ahead.

“Sometimes we’re reluctant to say anything to others because we don’t want to offend them. We don’t want to act ‘holier than thou.’ Besides, if we point out the sins of others, they might point back at us and begin naming our sins!

Saying Nothing?

“So often we say nothing and think that’s the most Christian thing to do. James argues, however, that when we help someone avoid the danger of sin, we’re saving that person from death! We need to check to see what’s happening in the lives of people around us. If our friends keep falling into sin and we keep minding our own business, we have failed as a Christian friend.

“Is there someone you need lovingly to warn of the danger ahead? Take courage. Regardless of the response you receive, speak up before it’s too late. Do so out of genuine concern for the well-being of your friend.”

The Bible says, “Whoever turns a sinner from his error will save him from death and cover over a multitude of sins.” (James 5:20)

The footnote explanation for this verse in the Life Application Bible says this:

“Right living is the evidence and result of faith. The church must serve with compassion, speak lovingly and truthfully, live in obedience to God’s commands, and love one another. The body of believers ought to be an example of heaven on earth, drawing people to Christ through love for God and each other. If we truly believe God’s Word, we will live it day by day. God’s Word is not merely something we read or think about, but something we do. Belief, faith, and trust must have hands and feet —OURS!”

It’s our prayer that together we’ll make a positive difference in encouraging our friends and that we’ll “speak the truth in love” (as the Bible talks of) when it is needed. And as we do that, “we will in all things grow up into Him who is the Head, that is, Christ. From Him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work” (Ephesians 4:15-16). AMEN!

Steve and Cindy Wright

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Filed under: Marriage Messages

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7 responses to “Friends Make a Difference – MM #56

  1. (SOUTH AFRICA)  I really need a friend right now. This is my situation and I really need advise and I do want to carry this cross if it is the will of God for my life. I am a Christian and my husband is not. We were both not Christians when we got married. My situation is like this:

    1. My husband has always been a person who likes to party till early in the morning. When we got married, I assumed that any person commiting to marriage, whether Christian or not Christian, will have to change from being a bachelor to being a man/woman. My husband continued with partying until 5:00 in the morning [most of the time].

    When I confronted the situation, he said that he married because it is the right thing to do but he didn’t marry me to change his life. He says he will continue with partying because he loves it with passion.

    2. We have been married for two years and there have been some times when I would sense that something is wrong in our marriage and I would steal his cell phone [which is a wrong thing to do, I don’t justify my actions] and go to text messages. I would find his communications with women. He will be telling them that he loves them and they will be calling each other with very nice words like “baby”. One of the women once mentioned that she is pregnant with his baby.

    3. I work far from our home, so we only see each other on weekends. The reality is that I only go home to guard the house. I usually come back on Fridays at around 17:00 in the afternoon [he is at work during this time]. When he knocks off at work at around 23:00, he will go straight to the night clubs and come home Saturday morning at 03:30 from the club. He will sleep and wake up at around 11:00 in the afternoon. When he wakes up, he will stay with me for 2 hours and go to his friends and come back Sunday morning at around the same time, 03:30 or sometimes 05:00. I usually leave on Monday morning and it is sually the time to get a quick “one round”.

    4. I don’t feel safe to stay alone at night as a woman.

    My questions: Matthew 16:25 says “For whoever wants to save his own life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” How far must you carry the cross in marriage? Must you be like Jesus and carry the cross to the grave? Should I risk the possibility of getting HIV from a cheating husband so that his soul can be saved one day?

    My mother died of HIV from my father. She was saved for most of her life and my father was not. She died because she couldn’t accept her status in 2006 but my father is still alive. The good news is that my father is a born again Christian now. Does it mean that the physical body has to be crucified, as long as we know that God will save the soul?

    I am really confused because I want to do the will of God and if it is his will and testing of my faith, I would like to know. Please say something and encourage me because for the sake of my husband’s soul, I am willing to endure it all. But, do you think it is the wise thing to do. [The verse says if I try to save my life by leaving my husband, I will die, But if I loose my life (by enduring this misery) then I will save it.

    All I need is advise, please help me. [I have also read one of the messages that says, “Marriage is not about satisfaction”]

    1. (USA)  Hi Lindy, I am really sorry about your situation and I can’t begin to imagine how you are feeling right now. You are really caught between faithfulness to your husband & God and the consequences of his adultery which may cost your life. My dear, God is watching you and from what you said he is pleased with you for even considering staying even if it puts your life at risk. The same thing happened to the disciples who were killed because of their faith in Jesus. Not many people think like that these days and you are blessed to fear God in such a way. It shows that you really believe God exists and are willing to go all the way. On the other hand, as you already know, divorce is allowed when there is adultery and you won’t be judged for that.

      However the Bible says, unbelieving spouses can be saved to God by their believing spouses. Personally, I would go for that if I get in that situation. I think you have a choice to make and both alternatives are good with God.

      If you decide to stay, depending on how strong you are in faith, I think it will develop you in the spirit (endurance, longsuffering, faithfulness). You would have made a decision to see God’s power in your life. Something to think about: With such faith and willingness to obey God, wouldn’t he remove this adultery and protect you from disease sooner than you thought???

      Also, you will do no wrong by divorcing an adulterous husband. This would relieve you of the stress and will give you more time to concentrate with other aspects of life.

      My dear, stay in prayer and focus on the Word. Lean not on your own understanding, like the Bible says, and leave the consequences of obedience to God. I will be happy to know how you are doing.

      1. (SOUTH AFRICA) Hi Lo, Thank you very much for your response. I will pray to God for guidance and lean not on my own understanding. I appreciate your response.

  2. (Nigeria) Indeed to have friends, one must first make himself friendly to others.The Bible teaches us to be sold out to the needs of others.

    It is indeed a sweet experience to be involved in mending a collapsing marriage. When couples were restored back to bliss by one`s intervention, the joy that accompanies it, is not only shared; in deed and in truth, it may often sometimes surpass that of the restored, embattled couple.

  3. (UNITED STATES)  Hi, My story is also like Linda’s from South Africa. The only differences is he hasn’t gotten anyone pregnant (from my understanding). I need someone right now to talk to. I know this is only a trial that I’m going through, but it hurts so bad. I need guidance and encouragement so bad, right now. I feel like I’m going to have an emotional break down. My husband has this problem with me, because he feels like I should let him do whatever he wants and I can’t say anything about it. He goes out with his boys all time of the night. He sometimes get mad when I tell him about God’s love, so he jumps on me, when he gets caught in his tracks.

    Another thing, everytime we have a problem, instead of us sitting down to talk about it, he runs to his parents house. Last time we had a problem he ended up choking me until I passed out, so I decided to call the police. Now his family is telling him to let me go, as if we’re not married. His family always holds him up in his wrong, which is not good, because God is not pleased with that at all. They also told me to leave him alone and that they told him I never loved him and they could tell when someone doesn’t love him.

    I said that I am going to leave it in God hands. Even so, his family was calling and telling me different stories. He still hasn’t called. Listen to this, I didn’t wish anything on his brother, which was the one leaving the messages for their family, how about 3 days after his brother and I separated, he got arrested for the same thing. See God doesn’t like ugly at all, if you know what I mean. And his brother always comes and carries my husband with him so my husband can be a cover up for him.

    What should I do? I Love him so much and I don’t want to move on. I feel we got married through God and said our vows, so we owe it to God to try and work things out. I want my marriage to work out, but I also know that I can’t do it alone, it has to be both of us. Only God can do the impossible, but I’m so afraid of him cheating on me. I feel like I would feel much better if I knew how he feels, what he’s doing, and what he’s thinking.

    So far it has been almost a month since he left me. What should I do? I feel like a mess, I put it in God hands, but I pray to God to keep him from doing anything wrong, from temptation, and keep him close and under his blood, but most of all tell him whatever his will is, let it be done. What should I do? Should I be the bigger person and call him? But then I will feel like the man of our marriage. What prayer should I say to help us? What Holy Bible scriptures should I read? I know the Bible says whosoever findeth a wife findeth a good thing and obtains flavor in the Lord. So why should I run behind him? He should be the one who coming to me right now. I think about him 24/7 all day and night. I pray all the time for us, but I feel like I’m getting weak. But I know when at our weakest moments that’s when we’re strong.

    Help me please… I need seriously advice right now… I said that I wanted to send him a text, read Proverb 18:21 and Proverbs chapters 18-21 and Job 14-21; tell him to focus on it. I know the Holy Bible says to Leave your mother and father. I cleave to my husband, but why hasn’t he fully done it yet, to forsake all others I don’t understand him, how he lets his family run his life. But I sit and wonder why am I still here. Then I realize I really do love him. Help me please a how can I help him? I know there’s only so much I can do; I have to give it to God. Why does it hurt so bad? Yet I’m still here waiting on him. What should I do? Advice and Encouragement, please? I need someone to be honest, go by the Holy Bible and still tell me the honest to God trust, can you do that?

    1. (USA) Dear Cillia, I cry with you over all of the sadness you are living through in your life right now. I just can’t understand how your husband can think his behavior is OK and humane. Why did he marry you if he was going to act so UN-married? Nor can I understand how parents could let their “children” hide behind them when they are acting in such a hurtful way — treating their spouse in such an insensitive manner.

      As far as giving you advice… I truly believe that you need someone who can give you more help than we can give you in this format. It’s not that we don’t want to, but you need to talk to someone who can personally converse with you, someone who is marriage friendly, who will be spiritually wise and will lead you to the best help that is possible.

      I encourage you to go into the “Marriage Counseling” section of this web site and go into the Focus on the Family link. They have counselors on staff that can talk to you and give you direction. They won’t be able to give you long-term help, but rather immediate counsel and then direction on where you could go to receive more help if that is what you need (which I believe you will).

      Please don’t give up hope. Keep praying and reaching out for healthy help. You may benefit from reading Dr Dobson’s book on “Love Must Be Tough” and putting down some type of boundaries in how your husband can treat you.

      I also encourage you to keep praying for your husband. He is obviously very confused as to the best way to conduct himself in life. He is justifying actions that will not only lead to problems now, but also in the future. What a sad way to live. He is being deceived that you can hurt others and reach out for personal pleasure at the expense of others, and NOT eventually pay a bigger price. That is true deception — one that will eventually bite him in the end. God’s ways will not be mocked indefinitely. How I pray he wakes up.

      Also, pray for strength within your mind and emotions. It would be very easy in your circumstances to focus on all the bad that is going on and all of the negative. Any one of us would have that tendency. But the Bible says that God is the “lifter” of our heads. Pray that God will help you to live out Philippians 4:8-9 — focusing on that which God can show you to be good, rather than painful, reaching for healthy thinking and living and His peace. That will be so very difficult because of your circumstances, but with God, all things are possible.

      My heart and prayers go out to you and for you. May God embrace your heart and emotions with His love and show you HIS faithfulness, and HIS loving help and reason to hope that tomorrow will be a better day. May He replace your tears with unspeakable joy. May God bless you as you lean upon Him and NOT “upon your own understanding.”

  4. (THAILAND)  It’s a tough one girls, and only God can lead you to the other side, the better side. But I must say, it will take strong faith on your side to be able to hang in there. I strongly believe that is what you need to be praying for right now, that God may sustain you and give you strong faith to hold on. When you go through a rough patch like this one, it is inevitable that at some point you would feel weak and emotionally drained and this is the best time for the devil to influence your weak flesh and carnal mind with all sorts of lies, hence you need to hold on to God, goldly friends, prayer and worship because at least you will be able to withstand his evil forces and you will have a clear mind.

    Do not give up, keep praying and trusting God, it will be your faith in Him that will help you to see what God can do for you in this situation. God is on your side, please keep on trusting him for a solution and deliverance.