How do you respond to a friend or an acquaintance who keeps screwing up?

I have been working through an issue for a while now. Where most posts go in a clear direction, this will be a ‘thinking on paper’ post. I researched as I wrote it. Welcome to my thought processes.

I watched a habitual user lose her kids again. She is very clearly broken as a person. Most can hide their brokenness, she could not. Her being caught made her friend clean up her act so she isn’t caught. The OCD Vampire’s puritan streak inside me started to spin into lecture mode.

“She had to face being caught before she would clean up.”

It wasn’t because it was right or she’d never started. She did start to clean up though. Then the Holy Spirit brought this verse to mind, “I desire mercy, not sacrifices’. It’s what Jesus told the Pharisees when he ate with sinners. Sometimes I forget we’re all bad in one form or another. Looking at the Sermon on the Mount is reminding me of that.

Here is my struggle: how do you respond to a friend or an acquaintance who keeps screwing up? They’re sad and angry but knew what would happen if they were caught. The Bible term is unrepentant. How do you respond to someone who isn’t even sorry?

How are you supposed to respond with love and grace in a manner that puts them on the right path?

Simply saying that they deserve it is easy. If done with condemnation, we can push them away. How can you comfort them without enabling or promoting the bad behavior? Is it possible?

Pastor Rod did a series titled 3 Questions. One sermon was on truth telling. Here is the link →here. From Galatians 4:16, he goes into truth principles, telling the difference between helpers and manipulators, and how to get truth tellers back into our lives. Sometimes it doesn’t go well for us.

“Better is open rebuke than hidden love. Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.” Proverbs 27: 5-6

I do know there are three things that are key for me in this situation.

  1. The goal should be to redeem and restore, not condemn and punish.
  2. It works best in a trusting relationship.
  3. If we’re excited about confronting them, then we are not the person for the task.

On number one, I admittedly walk a line between the two. We have butted heads before, years ago. This makes the context of number two unavailable to me. I am not excited about confronting, though; I’m at a loss. This requires someone else to be the voice of reason.

What would you do in this situation?

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