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The first and most important thing to remember for this type of person is to keep on loving them. Your affection for the individual must always be riding in the background of your thoughts, attitudes, words, and actions.
If you don’t have a genuine concern for the person, whatever your words or actions may be, you will stain them by your frustration, impatience, or annoyance. Sometimes because of our concern for the wayward soul, we can “care in the wrong ways” as our love for them turns into frustration and impatience.
It is imperative that you understand what is happening in your heart as you think about the unchanging person. There are at least two things going on, and both of them have something to do with fear.
Even if they won’t let you help them now, you can always pray for them. It will be your “praying without ceasing” that will buoy your love for him (1 Thessalonians 5:17). And out of your humility, the Lord will give you the courage and insight to know what to do (James 4:6).
Prayer Caveat: Because we can be subjective in our prayers for others, it will be wise to let any “action steps” that may come from your prayer time sit in your mental incubator for a while before you act on them. Having a healthy self-suspicion, even about your prayer life, will serve you well.
At times we can lace our prayers with what we want, which ends up damaging the relationship. How many times have you “felt” like something was from the Lord, but you acted on it too quickly? After a backward glance at your prayer life, you see how your emotions were stronger than your “assumed illuminations” from the Spirit.
This kind of impulsiveness is the “ready, fire, aim method” for responding to annoying people. It’s a knee-jerk reaction. Five minutes on Facebook is all you need to see this acted out in the “public square.” Prayer works, but prayer incubation is wise, humble, and sanctifying.
Watching someone self-destruct is not unique to you. We all have “that person” in our lives, which is why loving them well is critical. He needs a friend asking the Lord for opportunities to be Jesus to him. (1 Thessalonians 5:14; Hebrews 10:24-25).
Rarely will you have these redemptive moments according to your timetable. It takes discernment to know when to withhold and when to insert yourself into a person’s life.
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).