When I think back on some financial decisions they have made, I do not think some of them were sound or best for them. For example, just recently they did some traveling although they could not completely figure out how to afford it. This has made things harder for them.
I do not know what their monthly expenses are like but I cannot help but think that there must be a way to make their finances work for them. In addition, I do not think that the part-time job is a good idea because of their schedules and stress-related health challenges.
The truth is Lydia, that I cannot relate to what they may be going through but I think there are some things that they could consider doing in order to reduce their expenses. I am tempted to be critical but do not want to be critical or insensitive. Please help me to have the right heart about their situation and how to help them.
Thank you in advance for your advice.
Dear Concerned Friend,
When I received your letter I thought of the situation in John 5:6 when Jesus asked a man that had been an invalid for 38 years the question, “do you want to get well?” At First that seems a rather silly question. But often times we do not want to “get well" enough to take the necessary action to make it happen. We continue in sin, unwise behavior and bad habits, contending all the way, that we want to get well. The truth is we want the problem to go away without sacrifice or suffering on our part, but the Bible is clear that overcoming takes prayer, discipline, commitment, character and usually suffering to get to the other side.
You say you want to be able to help them when you are together and their finances come up. I would suggest that you and your husband ask them if they really “want to get well”. There are scriptures that make it clear good stewardship is a part of the Christian character. There are also warnings about the danger of money becoming your God as in Matthew 6:24 “you cannot serve both God and money”. I would suggest you have a Bible study with them about money.
If they affirm they want to get well and will accept help, then assist them to develop a sound plan to live within their means and to get out of debt. There needs to be a commitment on the part of both couples to meet often and focus together on forward movement. My husband recommends a book called The Total Money Makeover, by Dave Ramsey. The internet also has many resources for creating a budget.
However, if your friends continue to make decisions in living beyond their means that is their choice. Just as our Lord allowed the rich young ruler to walk away sad we must allow our friends to bear the consequences of their decisions.
Regarding your heart towards them, I would suggest the following: remember the story of Jesus healing the boy that had had an evil spirit since childhood? (Mark 9:14-29) The Lord said, “this kind of thing can only come out by prayer”. Pray for your friends. Guard your heart regarding a critical spirit. God is so gracious and patient with us (2 Peter 3:9), how can we even consider being critical of another?
I hope this was helpful.