What do you do when you've warned someone about something? You knew that the direction they were going in would only lead them to heart-break and pain, yet they continued to choose that path. You're always right there with them, they agree with your warnings, but never decide to turn the other way.
And then, one day, the call comes. They made a stupid mistake. Their life will never be the same. They went 'too far'. And you're left wondering if there's something else that you should've done, something else you should've said.
What do you do now?
1) Pray for them.
Regardless of if they want your prayers and if they’re a believer or not, pray that the LORD will work in their heart, open their eyes and that they would be willing to change their ways. Your love for your friend doesn’t always equal accepting their behavior. It’s important to have boundaries, to know when to say ‘what you’re doing is wrong’ but speaking out of love for them as a person, and because you genuinely care for their heart. And also, sometimes our worst mistakes are based on unmet needs, hurt feelings, unrealistic views, etc. Maybe that’s what your friend is experiencing right now too. Pray that the Holy Spirit will teach them the truth. Sometimes He’s the only one who can get through to them. Not us.
2) Be their friend.
Don’t shun them. But sooner or later, you’ll have to come to realize the fact that people learn from their mistakes, and they will suffer the consequences of their actions. And hopefully, learn something in the process. That is how we all grow. None of us make the right decision every time. You can’t hold their hand the whole way. You can’t make their decisions for them. But you can walk beside them and gently remind them of the truth, of God’s Word, and that you are praying for them.
3) Be there for them.
Sometimes you need to take a step back, stop casting your pearls before swine and trust your friend (and the entire situation) to the LORD’s hands. And don’t be afraid to tell them so either! Be honest and share with them how you feel that they don’t appreciate your advice, your willingness to help them and because of that, you’re stepping away. No, not shunning them. But yes, letting them go the direction they want. Remind them, though, that you will always be there for them if they ever decide to turn around.
It’s not easy to have a friend who ignores your advice, doesn’t listen to you, and thinks that everything you say is just ‘passing judgement on them’. But remember that once you’ve done all you can do, the rest is in God’s hands. Just continue loving them, never turn against them, or hate them, or be angry at them for messing up. All you can be sure of is that God is always in control. Rest in that fact, because you won’t be strong enough on your own.