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How to help a friend struggling in their faith

How to help a friend struggling in their faith

by Toyosi Adegunle

One of the many reasons for friendship is support and help in many forms. More specifically, lifting your friends up, helping them in good and bad times, supporting them for good causes and showing up generally are major attributes that can strengthen and help your friendship grow. 

As iron sharpens iron, So a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.” Proverbs‬ ‭27:17‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

A lot of things can be responsible for struggling with personal faith. Sometimes, its adult life is overwhelming and other times, it is a myriad of personal issues. 

How do I know I am struggling with my faith?

  • Do they struggle to pray?
  • Do they find it hard to study the bible? 
  • Are they finding it hard to hold on to the truth of God's word during difficulties? 
  • Is meditating on the scriptures unattainable? 
  • Are they finding it hard to fellowship with others? Go to church? Serve in church? or are they generally uninterested in activities relating to the faith?
  • Are they isolated from people in the faith?

If the answer to one or more of these questions is yes, your friend's faith may be under attack hence causing them to struggle. And when you read attack, don't see it as a demonic thing but rather a real thing that can happen to anybody at any time. I bet you can relate to seasons where you went through this. The answer is not to leave your friend alone or give them "space" lest it gets worse

To help a friend that you have noticed is struggling with their faith takes a lot of patience, discernment and intentionality. Patience to let them grow into the place they ought to be. Discernment to understand how to speak to them, what to say, where and when to say it and ensure that generally your communication and intentions are not misconstrued at any point ( to the best of your ability at least). Intentionality because you have to be genuinely interested and concerned enough to help them not because “one good turn deserves another.”

7 ways to help a friend struggling with their faith:

1. Listen: It can be really hard to listen to people because there's a tendency to assume you know what the problem is or why they are feeling the way they feel.  Half the time, your assumption is not true, which is why it's important to listen to them, pay close attention to what they say and be very prayerful as well for the Holy Spirit to expand on the things they have told you. 

2. Empathy: In my opinion, one of the reasons Jesus Christ made loads of impact as a divine being, the son of God living on earth amongst human beings is his ability to empathize with people, be in their shoes and feel what they feel. “For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.”  You truly may not have felt what they are feeling. If a friend is struggling with their faith because they lost a loved one, you may not be able to relate if you haven't lost someone so dear to you before, but you have to let them know you can try to understand them and where they are at the moment. 

3. Do not judge: You are meant to be a safe space for your friend to bare it all. Create a safe and understanding atmosphere for your friends to trust you and speak to you about their experiences and struggles. There's a really thin line between condemning an act that could be responsible for their struggles and judging. Whatever the case is, ensure you don't cross it. While it's good to condemn actions that are not in line with spiritual values and can be detrimental to their growth, understand the time and place to do so lest your good turn to evil in their sight.

4. Be supportive: Regardless of how long it takes for your friend to be back where they are supposed to be spiritually, please be supportive. Keep on showing up for them in all the ways you can. 

5. Help them create a routine: Set up a prayer and study routine with your friend and be consistent with it. “Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” ‭‭James‬ ‭5:16‬ ‭NKJV. There's so much power in getting together with your friends, studying and praying together over a long period. 

6. Keep checking in: Always check on their growth and recovery process after listening and helping in the way you can. If you plant a seed, an important aspect of growth is to check-in, water it and do all the other needful processes to ensure perfect growth. It's the same way here - keep checking in.

7. Resources: Fill their hearts with the best soul-lifting, spirit-building content at this period and even beyond. Share great content - music, videos, social media pages, websites that can help improve their spiritual growth.

You got this! The bible puts a huge premium on godly friendships and associations, we're all here for each other. Iron sharpens Iron, it is the reality of Imago Dei! 

Have you ever had to help a friend struggling with their faith? Do you have more tips? kindly share with us 🤍


Comments

  1. Very very salient points. This is indeed the core of being Christ's followers - loving one another (By this they shall know that you are my disciples, when you have love one for another- Jesus said that ) . It begins with empathy, meeting people where they are without prejudice with the understanding that we are God's hands and feet . God help us all 🙏 . Thanks for writing this .

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