Thick & Thin Friendship

The past few months, I have struggled with what it looks like to be in the life of someone who makes choices we may not agree with. I don't mean a general disagreement. I mean that I have struggled with what it's like to watch people I care about struggle with toxic lifestyle choices that include devastating drugs or choices which severely alter the persons future. An example of this was my experience with a dear friend who is a member of an organization that I have a hard time supporting, or really understanding. It was hard to see how involvement with this organization, was truly positive. However, as a friend that cares, this issue posed a question for me. How do I respond when I see someone I really care about choose to do something that I do not see as positive for them as a person? How do I respond when I see that a choice a person makes, strips away the person I know and care for so well? 

I have struggled with this for months. What is my role then, as a friend who loves? What I have learned is something that can be applied to many difficult situations of that nature. Be honest and loving. Seek to understand (even though a lot of times, you just might not). Pray. And then step back, and let them live their life. People will choose to do what they want regardless of what we think. We can have the best intentions in the world, but responding out of judgement is not the way to reach anyone. Even judgement that is masked out of concern or care is something to be careful of.

Sometimes part of what it means to be apart of a community of people, is supporting that person in the best way we can. It means seeking to love them in the best way we are able, provided the situation. In some of my experiences, I have had let go and recognize that people will make their own choices in the way they feel they should. I made my love and care known, and yes, that it kind of broke my heart to watch. But I let it go, and gave them space be free to live and grow in their own time, as they must. 

As we go through life, we encounter people we care about and sometimes see different circumstances in their lives that can be devastating, sad, or something that we have a hard time supporting if it doesn't foster a thriving and healthy lifestyle. We can't push our opinions or feelings on other people. We can just be present and available, provided there are healthy boundaries in place. We can stand with them when they are fallen, and extend a hand if they so desire that.

And with the people in my life, they know that I am always here as a friend to be honest, to seek understanding, and always, to love. 

That's some of what I learned. And I am always in growing mode. Any thoughts?