Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ (Galatians 6:2 NLT).
Friend to Friend
A ministry leader contacted me about someone on our volunteer team who had fallen into sin due to a personal decision. It seemed to me that the best way to handle it was to send an email saying: “Hey, you know that’s not good. Stop doing that. Get it together.” But rather than shoot off an email with threats or requiring a behavior change, I set up a face-to-face meeting. I sat on my sofa and asked the person a series of questions that conveyed I cared about what was going on in her life, not just the situation.
Over the years, God has taught me that my first responsibility is to love, not finger-pointing or judgment. The goal isn’t to fix people so that I can feel better about being an effective Christian. The goal is to point people to the life-giving power of the gospel so that they may experience the fullness of God’s love and embrace freedom in Christ.
Today’s Truth is a powerful reminder that when we share the struggles of others, we are following Jesus’ example. The person that I met with that day was sagging under the weight of sadness, sin and shame. If you recall Jesus’ encounters with the woman at the well, the woman caught in adultery, the unnamed bleeding woman and others, he stepped into their reality and led with love, not judging them for the religious laws that they’d broken. Jesus’ love paved the way for them to receive life-transforming Truth so that they could be restored or healed.
When the Apostle Paul mentions the “law of Christ” in Today’s Truth, it’s a reference to Jesus’ Great Commandment to love God and love others (Mark 12:30, Luke 10:27). Too often, we demand that people hurry up and fix themselves. Jesus didn’t ever force people to get themselves together. He showed them love and truth and let them decide for themselves their next steps.
During that face-to-face meeting, my questions opened up a conversation about the individual’s life and spiritual journey. Letting godly love and concern lead our conversation changed the atmosphere around them from shame and despair into hope. The lesson that I carry with me is that when hard conversations reflect Jesus’ loving heart, people hear us better.
Within a few months, the person made some radical decisions to walk toward God’s best for her life. One of the sweetest moments happened when I ran into her a year later and discovered she was smiling, serving at church, and growing in her faith. Though she had been scared and ashamed about the situation, she felt God’s Spirit working within her during our conversation.
Below are some questions or statements that I have developed over many years to help me have hard conversations in a God-honoring and people-loving way. Perhaps one or more of these can equip you to approach your next hard conversation in a more loving way. Which one of these suggestions resonates strongly with you?
- I care about you, and I’m praying God’s best blessing for your life.
- Where do you feel close to God? Is there a place where you feel far from God?
- Can you tell me what’s been hard about this for you?
- I’ve seen…. I’ve noticed…. (Share firsthand observations, not opinions or speculation.)
- What do you think God’s best is for you in this situation?
- I’d like to connect you with a mentor you can check-in with for the next few months; is that okay?
Sometimes, hard conversations have to happen. But we don’t need to fear or avoid them. We can have hard conversations in a God-honoring way when those conversations are wrapped in Spirit-led gentleness and most of all, love.
God, remind me that You are responsible for life change, not me. You’ve called me to love and lead people to You. Help me to share Your gospel of grace as the only way to true freedom – and more effective than any self-help method out there. Thank You that I can trust Your power to transform willing lives.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Now It’s Your Turn
What is the hardest part for you about having hard conversations?
Which one of the statements/questions above could be a part of your next hard conversation?
More from the Girlfriends
Today’s content is from Barb’s new Bible study, Breakthrough: Finding Freedom in Christ. This six-week Bible study on the book of Galatians teaches you how to find freedom from following religious rules and fear of not being enough for God. Barb’s study includes six powerful Freedom Principles and application exercises that equip you to break free from fear and experience God’s great adventure of joy and purpose for your life.
(As an Amazon Associate, Girlfriends in God earns A SMALL COMMISSION from qualifying purchases using this paid link.)
©2022 by Barb Roose. All rights reserved.
This devotional really spoke to my heart as a Mother who is struggling with a child in prison. I have spent years speaking truth into my son’s life and loving him through all of the ups and downs of his walk. He has not committed his life to Christ nor does he seem to even be willing to consider. He has began believing in other gods and becoming part of a white supremacists group, he has tattooed his body and I am really struggling with even having words of any kind right now. My heart is grieving more than ever. He will be released in 7 days and will be right back in the same trenches as when he was before he went to prison. We had plans for him to move and live with us in another state, my heart was so excited for his anticipated arrival. He has since decided to not come, heartbroken, angry, disappointed in his choices. I just do not feel like there is any possible change on the horizon. I feel depleted, defeated and void of hope for him.
How? How can I see past this and love him through when I completely disagree with his life choices. He is 31 and we have went through everything from drug addiction, numerous prison sentences, bankrolling his time in prison, his selfishness that has kept him from his three children. We have walked a long hard road for many many years. How do I continue? I have to totally release him to God, I can’t do it anymore. My mother’s heart aches.
Kimmy, I’m so glad that you stopped by Girlfriends in God today. I’m praying for you right now. As someone who has also watched a love one trapped in addiction, the grief and heartache is truly unbearable at times. Today, we surround you in prayer asking for God’s comfort for your broken heart and His peace to protect your mind from all of the worst-case scenarios that try to keep you up at night. Yes, you can let go. It’s really hard, but you can do it – I speak from experience. God will give you the strength to give your precious boy over into His sovereign hands and in exchange, God will give you His peace to help you walk out each day.
Your msg. today was right on time.
Galatians 6:2, is a verse I use in notes, and cards I write to others in congratulations and sympathy cards. It’s an affirmation for me as well, to remind myself of Jesus’ one commandment, “to love one another”.
Our world, and the pressure we are all living with, makes us more able to judge each other, than really love each other.
Thank you so much for letting us see your love for others, in action. I want God’s words to lead my words (Psalm 19:14).
Beautiful Carol! Just beautiful! Thank you for stopping by Girlfriends in God today and adding your experience and sharing your heart’s desire for God’s words to loving lead your life.
Barb, i want to simply say that your devotional today is truly excellent. Not only is it something for us to meditate on, as devotionals are intended, but it lays out a practical way to put what you write about—which is thoroughly grounded in scripture—into loving action. Thank you.
Thank you, Dennia and praise God!
Kimmy, I’m lifting your son to the the Throne of Grace today. You’ve made it clear how hard this is and I feel for you. I know that holding hope in your heart seems like a challenge that grows harder day by day. Even love is dimming with time. You ask how can you keep loving this young man of yours? It’s by looking at him not through your own eyes but through the eyes of your Heavenly Father who looks at you the same way. He cherishes you both. Don’t lose heart. Don’t lose faith. Keep showing him all the love you can and the love you didn’t think you could with the help of the Lord. 💕 Dennia
Dennia, thank you for showing up to share words of encouragement with Kimmy. Today, you are a beautiful example of what Girlfriends in God is all about!
Kimmy, Barbs writing today hit me like it hit you. I have an older son who is an addict. I’ve thought several times he had come to know Jesus but now because of bitterness towards a few people who have hurt him and caused such trauma he is full of anger and I’m not sure he believes in God anymore. I can’t find my son inside him anymore. I’m like you, it’s hard to imagine possible change, but I know with God ALL things are possible. And as I read the story of Saul’s conversion to Paul. IT CAN HAPPEN!!! Im going to pray for your son, believing as I believe for mine, GOD will turn their hearts and minds to him when GODS timing is right. Love♥️
Lynnette, thank you for sharing your encouragement with Kimmy today. It’s so, so precious that you showed up to stand with her and say, “Me, too” in such a hard and painful place.
This is such a difficult situation when you have so much love in your heart for someone, but you have to separate yourself from them to maintain peace within your own life. I, along with so many other family members, have experienced this as my family has a nephew who is a narcissist and hasn’t worked since his teens and he’s in his 40s. He has more issues than I can mention and no family member has been able to love him out of his horrible behaviors and life choices. So I just wanted to express how much I agree with Barb in that you can let go. It definitely won’t be easy, but with God (as always) it’s possible. HE will give you the strength. Love in Christ to all of you lovely ladies and just wanted to say how I absolutely treasure these daily devotionals.