• Subscribe
  • Apple Podcasts
  • Spotify
  • Google Podcasts

How should we respond when our friends sin?

 We live “in” the world but are not “of” the world, as our citizenship is in heaven.  Here we are “ambassadors” for Christ.  In all cases, we want to be God-honoring.
There are several basic principles that come to mind.  One is found Isaiah 50:4, “The Lord God hath given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary: he wakeneth morning by morning, he wakeneth mine ear to hear as the learned.”
We pray that our words can bless all who hear them, but having the right word at the right time is important.  Conversely, we want to perhaps not speak in cases where our words would be either a hindrance to others or really fall on deaf ears or make them angry or mean rather than be helpful and edifying.
In all cases, we can still be a good example to them by showing Christian principles of faith, honesty, kindness, forgiveness, patience and joy. While we should not be afraid or embarrassed to tell others about Jesus or God’s wonderful future plan, we also shouldn’t force our beliefs on others.
1 Peter 3:15 says,
“…but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect…”
Growing up in a Christian household,  you might be different from your friends – even those professing Christianity yet acting much differently.
There are simple ways to let others know you live by a different standard without pointing out their sin. For example if someone is using foul language you might say, “Hey!  Do you kiss your mom with that mouth?” or something similar to give them a gentle shove in the right direction.  If they keep doing it, you could say, “In all seriousness, would you mind choosing some other words?”
When they take the LORD’s name in vain – especially when combining it with swear words – it’s ok to simply ask them bluntly to stop. If they respect you, they already have an idea of your basic beliefs and should try to correct themselves around you.  This doesn’t always work, but it’s ok to take a stand.
Some of the more difficult things happen with certain conversations or actions – political, sexual (homosexual, transexual, affairs, abortion, etc.), how to use our time, how to treat people, gossiping, vices like drinking/smoking/drugs/stealing, etc.  We have to realize that for the average wordly person, their standards are much different than ours. Some would say:  What is right or what is wrong depends on what YOU think about it, not what God thinks about it.  However, we have accountability to the standards of God.
There are those for whom no amount of discussion, cajoling, teaching or preaching will change the way they think, talk or act. Over time it will be natural for us to spend less and less time with them, as we would not share common goals and would not be lifted higher by associating with them.  Us not participating in these things and offering “a word in season” here and there to nudge them in the right direction is valid. We want to have peace with all men, and we want to let our light shine as best as we can.
Sometimes we must be careful in whom we choose as friends as they might have a negative impact on US. Here is an example: A woman won a personal trainer in a contest who would come to her house to work out with her several times a week.  The trainer was very fit and she was very unfit.  By the end of the month of free training, the trainer ended up spending more time on the couch with a bag of  chips with her than her exercising.  Her bad habits rubbed off on him and not the other way around. This is the way sin works – it is very “sticky” and can easily trap us.
2 Corinthians 4:4: “Satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe. They are unable to see the glorious light of the Good News. They don’t understand this message about the glory of Christ, who is the exact likeness of God.”

Taking a look at the Old Testament, Daniel was an amazing example who kept praying even though it was against a new law of the Medes and Persians. Not only that, but his faith and devotion to God encouraged a proud king to respect the one true God!

Darius was the king of the Medo-Persian empire. Impressed with Daniel’s character, he appointed him to be a supervisor in a very high position. Men who were jealous of Daniel tricked the king into signing a law that said anyone who prayed to anyone besides the king would be thrown to the lions. But Daniel didn’t change his habit of praying three times a day to God. Because the law couldn’t be changed, the king reluctantly ordered Daniel to be thrown into the lion’s den. Worried about Daniel, he couldn’t sleep all night. When morning came, he hurried to check on Daniel, who was alive and safe! He told the king that God had sent His angel to shut the lions’ mouths.

King Darius then sent a message out to people of every race, nation and language, saying, “I decree that everyone throughout my kingdom should tremble with fear before the God of Daniel. For He is the living God, and He will endure forever. His kingdom will never be destroyed, and His rule will never end.”

Just as when Darius’ message informed all the people in his day about God, eventually, everyone in the future will also know who God is. Hebrews 8:11 says, “Never again will anyone have to teach their neighbors or their family to know the Lord. All people – the greatest and the least important – will know me.”

Habakkuk 2:14  says, “For as the waters fill the sea, the earth will  be filled with an awareness of the glory of the LORD.“

The right thing to do varies with each situation.  Pray for discernment and that you will have the right word in season, and that you can be a positive, godly influence on all around you.  You can never go wrong acting with humility, kindness and positivity.  Those around you should have a basic understanding that you are different and will not be saying, doing or even thinking like them.  Sometimes the right thing to do is walk away.  Sometimes the right thing to do is associate with that person less and less.

Even if our friends have different beliefs or no beliefs at all, that won’t stop you from praying, increasing your faith, studying, and copying the life of Jesus as best you can. Maybe there’s a King Darius in YOUR life who will see your Christian example and rejoice because of it!

To learn more about how to avoid peer pressure from others listen to, “How Do I Overcome Peer Pressure?”