Being misled by “friends”: The need to stay vigilant

When you have someone in your life who first encourages you to invest in a negative to you/others behavior (sin) and then that person condemns you when you follow their guidance and fall into sin, there are a couple things that could be going on. It could be that a person desires to control you, and gets some sense of satisfaction by being in a position of power over you. It could be that this person desires to act as a Savior to you; creating nonsensical scenarios where he or she first gets you into and then gets you out of trouble. Finally, it could be that this person is so out of touch with how their words influence others to stumble that they are blind to the effect they might have on others.

Although this is no excuse for a heart willing to actively receive sin (we are called to remain vigilant), your company can definitely have a disparaging effect on your inner being and relationship with God. When we elevate ourselves to boss others around, even in the guise of a caring and compassionate friend, we position ourselves to receive the praise that belongs to God only, usually turning out badly for the friends who are relying on us (falsely). Although as humans, we can make lifeless idols into what we need to fill the place of God, all to often we use others to take his place and then come to surprise when we find out they can’t fit there. Eternally too small to satisfy our hearts in the ways we had wanted, relationships can lead you astray because sometimes it doesn’t even take mutual bad intentions for something to veer off course. Sin creeps in un-announced, and it’s hard to distance from someone you know you are supposed to care about when what they ask of you or the effect they have one you steadily becomes negative. It’s hard to have to leave friends or significant others who started off seemingly kind and end up to be a bad influence on the kind of life you are trying to steward (or create).

As individuals, we need to regularly be reflecting on our interests to help guard the hearts of the people we are around. If we receive more satisfaction from the praise or attention we get from others than genuinely being in their company, than something could be very wrong. As we learn how to care for others better, we need to be coming to God in an attitude of prayer to let him search our hearts and reveal where we come up wanting. If you really want to love the people around you well and be a life giving influence on their lives, this is a holy desire that shows God that you want to be a good influence. It helps you discern where you could be kinder by looking up to his presence, and it guards your heart against the desire to seem perfect or extra-worthy by putting yourself in control. The relationships we have been given are for the glory of God, and it doesn’t help for us to be competing with him, in a different spirit from which he loves us. Instead of insisting in our own way, we need to rejoice with the truth, and the love that is found in Christ (only). Seeking God continuously is the only perfectly reliable means of guaranteeing our hearts remain as prepared as possible for the love he has to give us, in order that we can pass it onto others. Shutting yourself off from him so that you can receive his glory at the detriment of your immediate loved ones is like lighting a lamp but not having brought enough oil.


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I am a second-grade teacher and pastor-to-be who loves people. I spend my weekends with friends or wandering the museums of DC alone and with a journal, trying to put words on the places of the soul that still feel wordless. I spent most of my days at school trying to learn patience through my students and running on sheer nerdy passion. I follow Jesus Christ, and savor that as my most important identity--that I am a child of God, as are infinite others, regardless of their other identities. Christ is my one thing.

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