Merciful Mess

Merciful Mess

I love sharing personal lessons from my life in hopes that others can learn from my mistakes.  To me, it is a way to redeem those painful experiences, making all things work together for good (Romans 8:28).  The story I share here was a huge “life lesson” to me.  I gained much wisdom in regard to friendships after having gone through this experience.

Several years ago, a lady started attending our church.  I kept hearing from other people how fast she was growing in the Lord, how awesome she was, and how on fire for the Lord she was.  I thought, “I ought to befriend this gal.  She sounds really neat!”  That was my first mistake.  I took someone else’s word on this person, rather than seeking God’s will on whether or not I should befriend her.

It turns out that this gal was into witchcraft.  She was using her wiles and all kinds of manipulation on everyone in the church.  She caused division in the church and basically destroyed our deliverance ministry.  Had I not gotten wise to her devices, I think she would have destroyed my marriage with her lies.

Shortly after I cut off this unhealthy friendship, I read in Proverbs 12:26 where a righteous person is cautious in friendship.  I also saw in the next chapter where a person who walks with the wise becomes wise, but if you are a companion of fools, you will suffer harm.  I can not begin to tell you how much I wish I had known these verses before I met this woman.  I suffered MUCH harm because I was not cautious in friendship.

We live in a world where people need mercy.  For those who truly have a God-given gift of showing mercy to others, it can leave us vulnerable to being used or manipulated by others if we fail to counter mercy with discernment.  I encountered this with the woman who was attending our church.  While I was trying to show mercy to her, I was doing it on the say-so of other people.  What I ended up making was a merciful mess because God had not called me to show mercy to this woman.

Many times, I think those who operate freely in the gift of mercy may feel like they need to befriend everybody they meet.  Since we are to be cautious in friendship, it is clearly not God’s will for us to be close friends with every single person we meet.  We need to discern whom God wants us to have for our close friends.

When we choose to base our friendships on God’s principles, it might stir up controversy from those who don’t live by these principles.  We may be accused of being judgmental, when in fact, we are simply being cautious in friendship.  There is a huge difference between the two.  Since bad company corrupts good character, we should earnestly desire God’s will in our friendships (First Corinthians 15:33).

Are you making a merciful mess in any of your friendships?
© Stacy R. Miller

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