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Jesus was this way too. People were not as interested in what was going on in His life or the sacrifices that He made to help them. They just wanted help. What it cost Him to give it to them was inconsequential. If you do not guard your heart against this reality, you will become bitter toward all the folks who “use you” for their agendas and then leave you after they get what they wanted.
But what if you looked at this problem from their perspective? What does it say about them? What’s wrong with their relationships that motivate them to rent a friend?
I asked someone recently about her friendships. My “relationship question” was in the context of her routine, day-to-day life. I wanted to know who was speaking into her life. I wanted to know if she had reciprocating friends.
When I use the word “friendship,” I’m talking about people who get into your mess in a reciprocating way: you speak into their lives, and they speak into yours. Here are some of the answers that I receive when I ask the “friendship question.”
You can perceive the obvious implication regarding the breakdown of their friendships: none of them are local church reciprocal relationships. Most people’s problems that require a counselor would diminish significantly if we had adequate friendships within our local churches.
Let me state it another way: I rarely counsel someone who has a community of church friends who have the freedom to share their struggles with appropriate reciprocation. This type of reciprocal transparency also includes the provision of comparable in-depth, practical solutions.
In many cases, biblical counseling is a “Rent-a-Friend Paradigm” because the people who come to you do not have competent disciple-making friends in their local churches. Typically, I ask about the awareness of their friends regarding what is happening in their lives.
It is at this juncture that I receive several different responses. E.g., their friends do not know because they do not want them to know, or they will say their church doesn’t get deep with folks, or they don’t have any true friends, or they have been burnt too many times, etc.
They had rather “rent-a-friend” than build a relationship. Their counselor is a “safe” and temporary option. I understand this predicament. I don’t want folks to see the trouble that I struggle with either, but the problem is that you will almost always find the cure for your issues within a community of Christlike disciple-makers.
But isn’t that the problem? Where do you find such a friend? How do you go about it? And, of course, folks will say, “I tried, but it did not work.” Please understand that I’m not oblivious to what I’m suggesting. I’ve been there and done that too.
Still yet, the best way to overcome this problem is to take the offensive. You must persevere. If you have no place to go, you can start with us. Let us be your “rent-a-friend” until you can build relationally within your local community.
We are not a long-term friendship solution for you, but we can help you bridge this “relational problem” while you ask the Father to bring that person into your life who will go the distance with you.
Rick launched the Life Over Coffee global training network in 2008 to bring hope and help for you and others by creating resources that spark conversations for transformation. His primary responsibilities are resource creation and leadership development, which he does through speaking, writing, podcasting, and educating.
In 1990 he earned a BA in Theology and, in 1991, a BS in Education. In 1993, he received his ordination into Christian ministry, and in 2000 he graduated with an MA in Counseling from The Master’s University. In 2006 he was recognized as a Fellow of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (ACBC).