Relationship Owees in a Non-Lampstand Environment
Thursday Morning, July 6, 2000
Frequently we receive letters from those who are attempting to build REAL relationships with Believers, rather than the back-patting, shallow religious (or “fun”) centered counterfeits of the thing Jesus is after in His People. In this process of Life (Heb. 3:12-14, Gal. 6:2, etc.) that Father desires in the Church that Jesus is building, there seems to be an issue that comes up frequently:
“What do you do with the folks that want to live life for themselves in their own prideful, independent way...and just USE you for ‘fellowship’ or ‘studies’ or ‘meetings’ whenever it suits them? How do you address the things that come up in their lives that give you great cause for concern, in their potentially foolish, disconnected lives—when it does not appear that they care to hear about it?”
Bite your tongue and ignore it? No. No way. That would be quite evil, though some would recommend this as they attempt to hide their own sin.
Gossip to others about it? No! (And “just to my spouse” is ALSO gossip!)
Barge in and blast the living daylights out of them? Of course not. (See the article “Apostle Paul’s Guide to Helping Carnal Christians Mature.”)
What follows (a letter excerpt) is just an appetizer, but it is an answer to PART of the question:
“What do I do with a person who seems to be making continually bad choices in her worldly and independent lifestyle? She doesn’t seem to ‘get it’—nor does she seem to want to talk about it. I’m the ‘bad guy’ for bringing anything up, and ‘burdening’ her. I KNOW Jesus would not approve of the way she lives amongst the pagan man’s world. But, I don’t want to ‘mother’ her, do I?”
Sometimes, particularly if a person doesn’t “get it” or care to “get it”—all you can do is declare to them the error and foolishness of what they’ve done. I would not have just “bitten my tongue.” But, if I were you, I may not have felt like I could discuss it either. SO, the alternative is: DECLARE IT!
In other words, “Jane, I know you don’t get it and you MAY not want to hear this. But that was FOOLISH building, and you cannot build that way and the ‘house’ stand when the storms come. It was unwise and inappropriate. If you think I’m out of my mind, feel free to ask those that we know and trust to know Jesus deeply. I’m not intending on discussing or debating with you about it, but just want to tell you straight up that that sort of ‘I can handle it,’ and I’ll ‘do-it-my-way’ way of building was either dumb, or out-and-out arrogance and independence. You can figure out which it was, but I just need to say it.”
“Mothering” is wrong. Here’s why. IF they are hungry, you only have to mention it, and they will desire to go deeper themselves. Sometimes you will need to explain more thoroughly, or get help to explain. But with a good-hearted person, you will never have to follow them around and badger and mother them. They will care, be grateful, and ask you for more examples as they come up. They will desire more insight and more protection and help from those who can see what they obviously cannot for now. IF they are NOT hungry, you are casting pearls to swine, and it will only come back upon you later as an accusation of “controlling them” or “legalism” or some such thing. So, to those that are perpetually wayward, you cannot “MOTHER.” You obviously try to help, and if they do not seem hungry, then you may only “DECLARE.” Obviously, the dynamics of every relationship are different, and the maturity of the one offering the thoughts will vary greatly, as well as the personality or supposed stature of the one who seems to need some help. Therefore, every conversation of this type will differ greatly. Sometimes with more warmth and humor. Other times more to the point. Sometimes filled with, “I can understand where you’re coming from—I battle with this, too.” Other times, “C’mon! You know better than this!” But, here is some of the essence of it, regardless of the envelope that it may be delivered in:
“This seems to be a pattern with you, this _______. It is not Jesus’ way, and you will not please Him nor prosper spiritually on this path. If you do it, you do it at your own risk, because I don’t sense that you want to hear about it or want to change. So, if you choose to build a wall between us by continuing on this course, the consequences are your choice. I wish you’d reconsider, but because you don’t seem to want to hear about it, or change, then I will NOT follow you around and bring it up again and again. However, I also cannot embrace your path, and you have obviously created distance between us. ‘Fellowship’ ONLY comes from ‘walking together in the Light where He is’ according to the apostle John. It appears that you want to live independently and what appears to me to be foolishly, rather than on the Rock. And you don’t appear to ‘love the Light’ when we try to work these things out. It seems a nuisance or bother or intrusion to you, rather than ‘loving the Light.’ THAT rips my heart out. I CANNOT ignore this seeming breach of Father’s Ways, and ignore the grief of the Holy Spirit and the dangers that lie ahead for you as you build this way. But I will not chase after you and beg you, either. ‘Know the Lord, know the Lord’ is the other Covenant. I’m just begging you to reconsider, and declaring to you the danger of your path. Let me know if you DESIRE to talk more about these things. Until then....”