“I could talk till I’m blue in the face, and she’s still going to do whatever she wants to do!” Have these words, or something similar, ever come out of your mouth? If you have been “blue in the face,” then you know the feelings of frustration and anger that accompany that expression. I have certainly been there a time or two myself, and I sympathize with you, sister!
It can be very frustrating when a sister in Christ is heading down what you see as a wrong road in her life. Perhaps you are older than she, and you consider yourself wiser. Maybe you’ve even followed through with a choice she is considering, and you know the potential pain and heartache it can bring. As you watch her plow ahead into certain disaster (in your view), you pray for her, but in your heart you are worried and if you’re honest, you’re even a little angry with her for not taking your advice.
When people don’t do what we think they should do, and that anger rises up in our hearts, we must examine ourselves. Becoming angry because someone doesn’t heed your advice is a real symptom of pride and self-righteousness. I know these are tough words when you sincerely believe that what you’re advising is the best course, but there are some things you must consider before you give in to anger at your sister-friend. Maybe a few questions will help you to examine your heart in the matter
Question the motive of your heart in giving advice to your friend?
Check your heart for any hidden agenda. For example, if she is considering moving away, are you really just thinking of how lonely you will be without her? Maybe she’s your daughter. She would be taking your grandbabies with her, and you can’t bear the thought of them being away from you, so you try to convince her the move is unwise. Sometimes we don’t even realize that the motives behind our advice are selfish until we take the time to really examine them. This might be a good time to call your accountability partner for a check-up on what’s really behind your frustration.
Are you thinking too highly of yourself?
Are you really that far ahead of your friend on this journey toward heaven? Proverbs 3 says:
Trust in the Lord with all your heart; And do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the Lord and turn away from evil.
Are you wise in your own eyes, leaning on your own understanding in the situation, and insisting that she do the same? Instead, you should be trusting God, praying with her, and modeling whole-hearted dependence on the One who has full understanding of all aspects of this decision. You should be trusting that He will lead her to the decision that will bring the most glory to His name, even if it’s not what you would choose.
Do you know her heart?
This is an important question because often, when we find ourselves angry about someone’s choices, we are evaluating their motives. Proverbs 16:2 says that only the Lord can know and evaluate the motives of our hearts. When you and I decide that we know someone else’s heart, we have crossed the line into God’s domain, and we must back off. While it is true that she may not even know why she’s making the choice she’s making, that does not mean that we do know it. God alone knows the heart, and He will bring everything to pass exactly as He wills, for His glory.
My dear reader, unless the choice your friend is making is clearly a sinful one, you must change your thinking about it. I know that it is very painful to watch your loved one make a decision that you believe will bring her pain, but you must remember that the very pain she suffers will be used by God to draw her to Himself. Romans 8:28 says that all things (including her decision) work together for good (your good AND her good) for those who love God and are called according to His purpose. So the good news is, whether she follows your advice or goes her own way, the outcome will be good in God’s view.
Remember: God is all-wise, all-knowing, and all-powerful, and you are not. It is fine to give your opinion one time if she’s open to hear it. But then, even if you think you know what’s best, humble yourself before Him and know that His goodness and mercy can turn a potential disaster into a god-glorifying victory. Examine your own heart, repent of sinful anger, and pray for your friend. The prayer of a righteous (not SELF-righteous) woman avails much!