I think I finally understand when a friend needs to be let go.
In service yesterday, the lead Pastor at my church talked to us about wisdom, and fearing God. He reiterated the point that fearing God doesn't mean that you are literally in fear of Him, but that you revere Him, and stand in awe of Him.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding (Proverbs 9:10)
A friend of mine is actively seeking relationships outside of her marriage. While she is in the process of getting divorced, buying a new home, etc., it still makes me uncomfortable to speak with her nowadays, as her giggles and laughter about forwarding pictures, text messages and emails to these strangers brings her pleasure. It's doubly hard because our boys are friends and my distancing myself from her, distances our boys too. I constantly remind her of her family and I hear the same thing: he's done x, y, z and it's only fair that I get to have something for myself. One thing I've learned over the years is this: when you are in a marriage and have a family, "self" no longer applies to you in the way that it does for single people. And, years ago, I would have been able to entertain this type of frivolous conversation. The thought of that reality makes me sick to my core. I likely would not have given her Godly advice, and I likely would not have distanced myself from her. Instead, I would have also acted like a fool for the sake of what I thought was a friendship, and acted unrighteously, unwisely, unrealistically, unreliably and in an undisciplined fashion because I didn't know the importance of the company I kept close to me. Each of these "un" words represents a trait of a fool according to God's word.
It is so important for Christian women to know that a friend is someone who is not going to take them back to a place in their lives that they may be trying to get away from, or to never be introduced to altogether. A friend will also never try to lead you into a place of disobedience because they are in a valley themselves; this doesn't necessarily mean that they are trying to talk you into doing specifically what they are doing, but the fact that they are willing to continue talking about their indiscretions and sin when they know it makes you uncomfortable and is against what you have advised.
So how can you be a Godly friend, and prevent your friends from falling into the trap of acting the way the fool does that is referenced in the Book of Proverbs? The three proverbs below are great reference for a woman who is thinking of, or in the process of looking elsewhere in her marriage. They are also great for women who may have a friend she is trying to advise during such a time.
Proverbs 10:23 - Doing wrong is fun for a fool, but living wisely brings pleasure to the sensible.
* While it may seem fun for your friend to talk about her adventures and dish on the details of whatever she is taking a part in, as a friend it is important to remind her that what seems fun now is going to bring destruction to her life in some shape or form. If her marriage is not destroyed, her relationship with God will definitely be in jeopardy until she comes to terms with what she is doing.
Proverbs 10:21 - The words of the godly encourage many, but fools are destroyed by their lack of common sense.
A woman of God should surround herself with those who seek wisdom and maturity in Christ.
*If you have a friend who is playing with fire in her marriage, you had better believe that she already knows better. She knows what the consequences are, and she knows what is right although she is not acting as she does. It is important to encourage her to not only do what is right, but to keep her relationships pure. This could mean letting people around her go if they are encouraging or ignoring the wrong she is going, and seeking friendships and fellowship with new people who in turn will be life-giving and who are more mature in Christ.
Proverbs 17:24 - Sensible people keep their eyes glued on wisdom, but a fool's eyes wander to the ends of the earth.
A woman of God should be realistic and content in her own reality and understand that the grass is greener on the side that is watered.
*As humans we all battle sin nature, and everyone's battle is different. In marriage, one of the biggest battles we face as women is our sexual integrity. This doesn't mean that we all have physical or emotional affairs, but it does mean that sometimes we live in a fantasy world and compare our husbands to other men we encounter. While this may not seem like a big deal, when a woman does this she is creating a reality that is nonexistent. If her husband was like her co-worker at work, and if her marriage suddenly became perfect like her best friend's marriage appears to be, her journey would not be her journey. While a woman is busy wandering about what could be? and what if? she could be watering the grass in her own relationship.