I felt her pain as the bottom fell out of my friend’s marriage. I had been her accountability partner to help keep her responses godly while her spouse did as he pleased with issues such as pornography, poor money management, infrequent church attendance and refusal to accept wise counsel. Now, infidelity, and the marriage ended.
After the divorce, my friend Gail stopped attending church altogether and pulled away from me as she attempted to fill her void with a crowd that enjoyed worldly pleasures. All accountability was gone. Before long, she met a younger woman who was also coming out of a bad marriage and the two found comfort in each other. Their relationship became apparent to me when Gail told me she and her new friend were moving in together. They not only shared a place, but I knew they were also sharing a bed! I could only imagine the impact this was having on Gail’s young son and daughter as their mother slid down this slippery slope. This continued for 4 years! During that time, I had very little contact with Gail, and during the few conversations we did have, she skillfully avoided sharing with me what I already knew. And I was just as guilty for not speaking up to remind her of the consequences of her poor choices. My silence made me uneasy in my spirit, yet I was hesitant to confront her.
Fast forward to a distraught phone call I received from Gail who was crying uncontrollably. She first asked me not to judge her for what she was about to tell me. I told her I would let the Word of God shine light on her situation (I was so thankful God gave me this opportunity!). She began to tell me that her “close friend” decided she no longer wanted to live with her, and was leaving to return to her hometown for the support of her family. Gail admitted that they loved each other so much that at one point they had taken measures to have a baby but their attempts were futile. She described that the pain she was experiencing from this impending separation was greater than the pain she felt after her divorce and that she couldn’t imagine life without her. She told me that her friend stated she wanted to get it right with God. Gail begged her to stay and told her they could begin attending church to grow spiritually together but the friend would not listen; she wanted out of the relationship.
For the first time, Gail and I spoke candidly about her gay love affair and she admitted that this was a wake up call for her. As Gail opened up to me, I was praising God for the grace He was extending her – an opportunity to come out of a sinful lifestyle, to repent, and to get back on the straight and narrow path. I was thankful that God did not give her over to her depraved mind! Instead, she had another opportunity to choose the way of escape and be pardoned from her sin.
I told Gail that God would heal her pain, but that He desires to be first in everything she does. I explained that every sin is a choice, and that her unrepentant sin would prohibit her from experiencing the peace and joy she was searching for, and if she continued in it she most assuredly would not see heaven! God desired repentance – a turning away from the lusts of her flesh to allow Jesus’ Holy Spirit to reign and rule in her body. She needed to renew her mind by hearing the Word of God, and allow Him to strengthen and help her in her weakness. Gail proclaimed her love for God, and I urged her, “If you love Him, you will keep his commands”. I prayed over the phone with her and shared some relevant scriptures:
1 John 1:9 – If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Psalm 147:3 – He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.
2 Chron. 16:9a – For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.
Gal. 5:24-25 – And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
1 Cor. 6:18-20 – Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.
1 Cor. 10:13 – No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.
Rom. 1:26-27 – Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. … the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.
I have continued to encourage and hold Gail accountable as she takes steps to grow her faith and separate from those things that defile her. Holiness requires total commitment, and as she draws nearer to God, He will draw nearer to her to complete His work. Through her disciplined life, she will truly experience the peace and joy that she’s been seeking for many years.
In the meantime, I myself repented for watching in silence during those 4 years. From now on, I will take every opportunity to be his mouthpiece and to share the hope we have in Him. Hope is never helpless … it never shrinks back or gives up. Hope is the love God has given us through his Holy Spirit, and that Hope is the power that enables us to flee from sin, and overcome. Hope spurs us on towards heaven!