Q&A About Helping a Friend Who Is Living in Sin

How to help a friend stuck in sin
Galatians 6:1

One AGW reader wrote in to ask a question about helping a friend who is living in sin. Below is our conversation. What advice would you share with Emily? Share your thoughts in the comments section below. 

Hello Mark,
God bless you for the wonderful work you are doing. Your articles have been a blessing to me and have helped me grow spiritually.

So my issue is that I have a friend who got involved with a married man with three kids. I tried to discourage her for a long time but she still went ahead with it. Now the man has moved away from his marital home and left his family. And she goes to stay with him where he got his new apartment. God has blessed her with a good job and she had a very good boyfriend who even paid for her master’s degree but she left him for this married man who is much wealthier and influential.

She has been my best friend for many years but am so disappointed in her that I no longer talk to her. She tries to reach out to me but I’ve totally distanced myself from her. She has a company of other friends who I think have influenced her negatively, one having had an affair with a married man. Kindly, as a Christian, how should I deal with this whole situation?


Hi Emily,

Thank you for reaching out to me. This sounds like a very difficult situation. I don’t think I have any answers that will truly solve this unless your friend is willing to submit to Christ, repent, and live for God. Until she desires to please the Lord, she will continually seek to please herself as all of us live from a selfish point of view when we are not living in Christ and for Christ.

With that said, here’s a few pointers that come to mind:

1. If she doesn’t listen to your loving counsel, you will have to decide whether you want to continue to be around her. If the friendship will drag you down to a lower moral standard, you should not continue the relationship. If you feel your friendship will help her and not hurt you, then you might consider continuing it. What will not be possible is if you want to continue the relationship and you continue to correct her. After sharing your concerns, you will have to let it go and let her live her life. If she constantly feels your disappointment, the friendship won’t work. Just because a friend is living in sin does not mean you should not be friends with them. It might mean this. But if you feel called to be friends, you will have to learn to love her where she’s at.

2. I think you need to decide whether you believe your friend is a Christian or not. The way we are to handle unbelievers and believers is very different. She may claim to be a Christian, but if her life does
not reflect Christ at all, the Bible explains she is probably not a Christian (Matthew 7:16-20). If she is not a Christian, you should not expect her to live to the same standards you do. Certainly you should
try to help her understand the gospel and live morally, but your tactics will need to be different if she is not a Christian.

3. Lastly, here some resources I think relate to your question. Not all of it applies perfectly but it might help some.
Should a Christian Correct a Non-Christian?

When Should You Hand a Person Over to Satan?

3 Biblical Counseling Tips

What Does the Bible Say About Judging Others

Thanks again for reaching out to me. I hope these words help a little. God bless! Don’t forget to pray for your friend often!


What advice would you give Emily? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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ApplyGodsWord.com is the writing ministry of Mark Ballenger. To reach Mark, send him an email anytime: markballenger@applygodsword.com

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