16. A Friend Who Has Fallen
We all have met them, or at least been around them. Somewhere along the line, they were mistreated. They were “victimized” but they have continued to live their life in defeat, by being a victim, rather than a victor. They love to relive their hurt. They love to cast blame at the one who hurt them. They love to cry out for justice for those who did them wrong. And, they love to tell, everyone about it. Do you have a friend like that? It is very easy to be infected by these people. Their venom gets into us and just a little bit, can weaken us spiritually. So, what do we do when we have a friend who is a victim? May I make a few suggestions?
1 . Change the subject. Every time they decide to talk about what someone did to hurt them, change the subject. Do not let the conversation continue.
2 . Don’t argue with them. It will do you no good. Don’t try to defend the one that they have made into their villain. Arguing often merely fans the flame.
3 . Don’t indulge them. Do not encourage their victimization by giving them sympathy. Hear them out and change the subject. No comments are needed.
4 . Talk about how the power of God has delivered you when you felt victimized and how God helped you through it. Don’t appear to be preaching. Just share your faith in an attempt to strengthen their faith.
5 . Do not believe nor disbelieve their story. It’s not your business. Don’t think about. Let it go in one ear and out the other, the best that you can. You do not need to take sides. Remember, stories can take on a life of their own when told over and over again.
6 . Gently rebuke them if they persist with slander. Now, here it becomes tricky. You do not want to pour gasoline on a fire, however there are times when a friend must rebuke a friend. My suggestion is, that you remind them that they are more than conquerors, and that all things will work together for good if they will simply let God deal with it. If they threaten to hurt another person, a gentle rebuke that reminds them that they are merely bringing the wrath of God upon themselves, may be in order.
7 . If they persist, avoid them. Do not stop being their friend. But you may need to stop being their companion. It will eventually affect or infect you if you are not careful. You may need to warn them to stop, lest you have to avoid their fellowship. Often times that’s all they need to hear and they will cease talking about it to you.
8 . Pray for them. We do not put enough confidence in prayer. The best way to help a person who is filled with anger is to make it a serious matter of prayer. Set aside a time each day to pray for them and specifically tell the Lord what you want to happen in their lives.
9 . Don’t talk to others about it. Do not talk to anyone regarding the hurt of your friend. Very quickly, it can turn into gossip and even slander.
10 . Don’t make a judgment against them or the one who they feel has hurt them. There are two sides to every story. You don’t know the entire story, nor do you need to know it. Unless you are the one in charge, stay out of the middle.
11 . Don’t choose sides. It is sad that people want us to choose their side in a conflict. Dad always said, “I only choose sides when one party forces me to, and then I choose the other side.
12 . Keep YOUR eyes on the Lord. People fail and people fall. Victims can cause you to be disillusioned by making a case not only against their villain, but also against anyone associated with that person. They will attack those who “mishandled” the situation and soon make a cause out of it. You do not know the whole story. Do not be drawn in, lest you lose your faith. Just trust the Lord to deal justly with matters.
We live in a society of victims and there cannot be a victim without a villain. Often times the villain is thrown into the garbage heap, even though God still loves them and wants to use them. We must learn how to deal with friends who have allowed themselves to be perpetual victims, not just for their sake, but for our sake and for the sake of that one who is being accused. (DH)