How To Approach a Struggling Christian Friend

7:50 AM

Hola readers!
Today I want to discuss and share how to approach a Christian friend who is struggling. God has blessed me with a wide range of people in my life from all different religions, faiths, backgrounds, ages, places, and very diverse walks of life, and when I first found myself in situations where my friends were coming to me or going to media with their problems, I was struck with so many questions. Answering these questions myself made some pretty hasty decisions I later regretted when it came to approaching them. But over the years God has shown me that not every person is the same, and how to encourage them to the best of my abilities in a way that I pray is less than judgmental, and where they feel that I'm honestly wanting to be there for them, because nothing could be more on my heart than that.
Here are some dos and don'ts and a tad bit of what I've learned over these last few years when it comes to helping a struggling Christian friend......

Do pray before doing absolutely anything 
This was my greatest struggle in the beginning. My first reaction is immediately to approach my friend without even taking the time to think or pray about it, and yes, at times the human part of me wants to blast them with my anger.
 I'd do what came first to my mind and it ended up either being completely awkward or later I'd realize how I could have handled it with a more God-like spirit. However, prayer is the key - trust me.

Do realize that you can't save them
 I can do nothing, say nothing of any importance apart from Jesus Christ, and you need to go in with that idea. Jesus Christ alone can save, and when you take this to heart as well as lots of prayer, your heart should be on the right track.

Don't NOT approach them
I think another thing we as Christians do is hold back. I realize bringing up controversy isn't for everyone, but at times you can want peace too much. This can hold you back and the fear of losing a friendship becomes more important.
BUT, God calls us to approach our brothers and sisters in Christ when you see things you know shouldn't be happening.

Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.  Galatians 6:1 

Do not regard him as an enemy, but warn him as a brother. 2 Thessalonians 3:15

Do approach them with love and understanding 
This is hard - especially when it comes to helping a friend who is not only a Christian but perhaps has helped you in your own struggles. You may feel betrayed or angry when seeing them do something they once swore up and down they'd never do. To see a Christian friend using harsh profanity, sneaking out to do drugs, growing depressed, becoming unhealthily involved in a relationship or cutting, it's hard. Really hard. And because they are a Christian you tend (or I do anyway) to want to shake them. You already know better - why are you doing this? However, I've been down roads I never thought I'd walk. It's true, the old saying, "never say never." If you know what they're going through because you've been there, let them know. Don't spew out Bible verses and throw out quotes from theologians. Instead, allow God to lead you. 

Don't say, "if you do this, then..."
Nothing says "judgmental" than saying, "if you continue to be in this abusive relationship you'll just continue to get hurt." Or, "if you continue making out with so and so you'll just end up in bed together." Saying, "if you do this then..." will just make the person more defensive and if they really don't want your help or to admit they're wrong, they will probably try to convince you otherwise. 

Do know when to back off
“If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. Matthew 18:15-17

 Once you have approached your friend in all love, prayer, understanding and grace, and if they refuse to accept they're wrong and apparently don't want you, then drop it, let them know you're praying, you'll always be there for them, and ask God for the next step. Accept that this friendship might not continue, and depending on the situation, you may need to tell a pastor or someone who has more experience, but otherwise, step back.
However, if they allow you to be there for them and acknowledge they're walking down a wrong path, then be there for them. Don't look back at people you've talked to in the past, books you've read or testimonies you've seen. These can be great but not every story is the same, not every human thinks the same.  Don't expect life to suddenly be easy now that they're willing to talk to you. And above all - if they do want your help...

Don't suddenly become 'too busy'
One of the biggest mistakes you'll make is to become too busy. You've told this person you're there for them and if you are, you need to make time. Don't drop them. And I don't mean stop your life, quit school, take time off work - unless you feel a complete nudge from the Spirit - but I am saying, you told this person you're there for them and if God has called you to walk this road together, then keep in touch. Send them a text and ask how they're doing. If you read a verse and thought of them, send it their way. Take them out to coffee and have a little chat to catch up on life. And above all, pray together. That is one thing you can never, ever go wrong on.

This is what I've learned other the years but I'd love to talk to you! How do you approach these often messy situations, readers? If you have any questions please drop me an e-mail @ so we can chat about this post or comment - I'd love to hear your thoughts! 

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4 of your thoughts

  1. Lovely post! So encouraging! <3

  2. I've been meaning to comment for weeks, because this is an excellent post, Kara. I think you covered the topic well, and I need encouragement sometimes to step out of the comfort zone and talk to people. (Plus, all the things you listed are so practical, and that's what I go for. :) So thank-you, and seriously your heart to reach out to others is so inspiring. May God bless you. xx

    1. God bless you too Jessica! Your heart for this hurting world is truly a beautiful thing! Continue stepping out in faith in His name!! <3


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