“You look kind of sad this morning,” Stan said.
“I have a real good friend,” I responded. “Someone I really like.”
“And that makes you sad?” Stan responded.
“Well, it turns out she may have lost her interest in our friendship,” I replied.
“Any particular reason?” Stan asked.
“She says I’ve changed and she prefers the old me.”
Continuing, I said, “Just last night she told me that ever sense I have been meeting with you I have changed. She called me a ‘religious weirdo.'”
“I tried to explain to her what was happening with my growing relationship with God, but I wasn’t very good at it.”
“I’m afraid our friendship may be over. That makes me sad.”
“That sort of reaction from another person is not all that unusual,” Stan replied. “I actually experienced that myself when I first became a Christian.”
“You see, my friend, the thing is that someone who has not been born again doesn’t have the capacity to understand the difference between religion and relationship.”
“With your friend, she is probably thinking you have become some sort of ‘holier-than-thou’ sort of person, when in fact there are just things that the Lord has removed from your life.”
“What she doesn’t understand is that with religion it is a person trying to do something to please God, but with a relationship, it is God dong what He wants in and through the person.”
“Where does that capacity to understand come from?” I asked.
“The indwelling Holy Spirit is where it comes from. Without Him, who is also called the Helper and the Counselor, it is impossible to have the right relationship with God the Father and Christ Jesus the Son. It is a package-deal: three in one, and no one without the package can understand.”
“So what am I supposed to do in response to someone like my friend?”
“Love her as a friend and be gentle. Make her curious about why you are so different from who you used to be.”
“Get your feelings of self out of the way so the Holy Spirit can do His work in and through you.”
“Pray for her. It may be that the Lord wants to use you to have an eternal impact on your friend!”
A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. Proverbs 15:1.
Prayer: Lord, thank you that you want to have a relationship with me. Thank you that you are constantly working in and through me to draw us ever closer together in the relationship you intend. You know all about when other people do not understand my relationship with you. If you want to use me to help others come into a personal relationship with you, please go ahead and do all you want in and through me. Lead and please help me to follow. Thank you that I can and do bring all of these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.