You’ve heard the phrase a thousand times if you run around in Christian circles. Anytime someone is in the middle of a struggle. Anytime their life just doesn’t seem to be all tied up in the neat little Christian package we think it should be. Anytime they find themselves on the wrong path. Anytime they’ve made poor decisions or they’ve been thrown to the wolves through no fault of their own.

“They really could use a good Christian friend right now.”

The more I hear that phrase, the more it makes me want to vomit. Seriously! Who are we that we can even presume to say what someone might need? Why are we as Christians so arrogant that we think the answer to every hard situation is a crash course in you need to get your life right with God? Why do we always assume the problem is a spiritual one that we need to fix?

When a young mother’s husband leaves her, she doesn’t need to be told she wasn’t submissive enough. That she didn’t fulfill her husband’s needs. That it’s her fault.

When someone’s marriage seems like it’s falling apart, the last thing they need to hear is that they really should be in church {inferring this is why they are in this hell} so people can pray for them and help them through the situation.

When a family is about to lose their home to foreclosure, the last thing they need to hear is that they didn’t have enough faith and trust in God {or Dave Ramsey!} so he didn’t trust them with monetary blessings.

When a friend agonizes over the decision to come out to you, they don’t need to hear that they are living in sin but you still love them because, you know, love the sinner/hate the sin.

When a husband is losing his family because his wife thinks his playing in a bar makes him less of a Christian, the last thing he needs, is to be told he is being disobedient to God.

When a precious two year old dies due to non-treatment of cystic fibrosis because their church doesn’t believe in medical care, the last thing those parents need to hear is they didn’t have enough faith. They didn’t pray enough. That this is their fault.

Natural disasters, school shootings, plane crashes, care wrecks, suicide, cancer…it’s an endless list. If we aren’t blaming God, we are saying he allowed  it to  happen to teach us a lesson. I know that’s the absolute last thing I would want to hear or need to hear in any of these situations. 

Why is it always our go to as the good Christian friend’?

The ironic thing is, God doesn’t ask us to fix anybody. So why do we think that’s what we should try and do? That’s his job. Isn’t is usually wise to leave things in the hands of the one who is far more capable than ourselves? Only after much prayer and hopefully the prompting of Holy Spirit, should we ever attempt to address spiritual matters in situations like these.

We are called to love our neighbor. Yes, it’s easy to say we love our neighbor, but I think this requires action on our part. Getting our hands dirty as it were. Being willing to wade in the shit that they find themselves in and walk with them. Clean them up and carry them if we have to. And if you find the phrase wading in the shit offensive, I’m pretty sure you are missing the point.

When your husband has left you, when your family is falling apart, your wife basically throwing you away, your life is pretty shitty. If you are being condemned and made less than because you are gay, if your only child dies and you are told it’s your fault, your life is pretty shitty. If you have been impacted by a natural disaster, a school shooting, suicide, cancer . . . you see where I’m going here.

You don’t need to be told, “you need to get right with God.” You need someone to sit down in it with you and put their arms around you. You need someone to understand that life is indeed shitty in this moment and not judge you if you say so. You want someone to walk with you, cry with you, be angry along with you. You simply need someone to love you. To help you take your next breath.

In the breathing in and out, we find the most holy of prayers. Times when we don’t know what to say or simply can’t find the words, he hears. He knows. He sits in it with us in these moments. Then grace washes over us. Grace that’s big enough to cover multitudes of wrongs. Grace that’s always waiting with open arms. Grace that gently picks up all of our broken pieces and creates something beautiful.

I don’t want to be ‘the good Christian friend’. Scandalous as it may be, I don’t want to be the one to kill the wounded. I want to always err on the side of grace. Always on the side of love.

 

“And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart,
all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.
The second is equally important: Love your neighbor as yourself.
No other commandment is greater than these.”
Mark 12:30-31 

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