My friend’s wife left him & moved. He lost his job two months ago and is working on finding one. At first I let him just hang out my place – it’s convenient for him – but now he’s staying here and I find myself resentful because he won’t take my advice and just get any job for the time being until he finds a better one. He doesn’t want to work. I understand that his pride is hurt, but I don’t want to be taken advantage of AND be seen as sinful (we’re just friends). Complicated. Thoughts?
You seem to be in a situation where he is doing whatever is most convenient for him, even though it is not working for you. I am afraid the “being taken advantage of” ship may have already sailed.
Wanting to be there for someone while they are going through a hard time does not mean that you surrender your boundaries out of fear of upsetting them. That is a subtle kind of emotional manipulation “you can’t tell me anything I don’t want to hear because I am sad”. That is a childish view.
And on top of that, as you point out, it doesn’t look good. Not that you have to make all your life choices based on what people might assume, but it is a consideration. Especially if you are in any kind of ministry or leadership. The appearance of impropriety is sometimes as bad as actual impropriety. If you are ministering to a high school girl and trying to counsel her against going too far physically, her thinking you are living with a boyfriend has the same effect as if you actually are.
Having your boundaries crossed is a situation where, when you feel it is time to say something, it is probably past time. Nobody wants to feel like the bad guy for kicking someone when they are down, but that isn’t really what is going on here. Someone is inflicting on your life in a way that isn’t good for you, isn’t good for your friendship, and isn’t good for them.
Once you have made the decision that a confrontation needs to happen, you can put your thought and prayer into how you should approach it. That is much better than waffling on whether or not to confront someone and then exploding at them when you are really pissed. You can be loving and firm at the same time.
Putting off a confrontation that needs to happen is almost always the more destructive choice. It is not fair to you or your friend to avoid saying something that needs to be said out of fear.
-Matt from The Bridge