…How can we talk to a christian whose relationship with Christ is strained and on ‘the brink’? My friend has recently been straying away from God and is now having thoughts about running away and self-harming. I’m not really sure how to approach the situation or what I can say that might help.
A. Hi friend. What a tough situation you are in. I think there are 2 issues here that we need to address. A spiritual one and a physical one.
Firstly, if your friend is self-harming (cutting), you need to address is immediately. It is a slippery slope and thus needs to be confronted at once. If you do not feel comfortable talking to your friend about it, you need to talk to your parents, their parents, counsellor, Pastor, teacher or any other adult of authority that could help in this situation. Cutting is a serious issue and your friend must feel desperate for them to feel like they need to walk down this path.
While the first issue is being addressed, continue to cover your friend in prayer. Be there in their time of need, listen while they talk, offer advice when appropriate and just be a good witness of God’s love during this time. Be a non-judgemental friend during this troubling time.
I will conclude by suggesting you address the issue of cutting first. Although I am not saying that the spiritual aspect is less important, we have to meet the physical needs as well as the spiritual ones. It is important that your friend is safe and not in danger. The God stuff will natural come when we take care of our friends.
If your friend wishes to talk to one of the Pastors, please contact me at email@example.com. I can connect him/her with one of our staff. We are here to help anyone, not just the ones that go to our church.
[answered by Pastor KJT]