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Saturday, June 23, 2007

Dear Friend

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Dear Friend,

This letter is a long time coming, mostly because I haven't been able to find a way to say what I need to say. During our last conversation, you mentioned that I seemed distant, and I laughed it off- but you were right. There is something between us that I can't pretend away anymore.

You may not realize it, but you are causing problems in my marriage. The clothes you have been wearing are a temptation to my husband that he is sometimes unable to overcome. I know that losing the baby weight was a big accomplishment for you, and that dressing nicely makes you feel more confident, but it comes at a price. The jeans may not seem tight, but they are certainly form-fitting, and they accentuate your every curve.

You may think you couldn't possible have turned the head of another man after having three children, but men aren't made to process things the way we do. They instead recognize and are excited by the shape of a woman's body regardless of the size or imperfections. You are a beautiful woman. The sweet and cheerful mother and wife you are make you a magnet for people, anyway. And when you add apparel that accentuates your body, I am faced with comparison I cannot ever defeat. It is hard for me to know that you are the same woman who prayed with me in Bible study and agreed that tantalizing ads on TV were one of the biggest areas of concern in the Christian marriage, and yet you are the seductress in the next pew! Oh, my friend, the sting I feel even as I write this, knowing you would never willingly steal my husband, but watching you do it all the same.

My husband has confessed his distress to me that your appearance causes him to think lustful thoughts at times. He is so frustrated that he has mentioned changing churches, or not going at all. He says he faces so much temptation in the world that facing it at church, too, is just too much. That is why we have moved to the front of the church. I know I told you something like we wanted to be able to hear the choir better or that it is less distracting to have everyone behind us, but the truth is that when we would bow our heads to pray, my husband's eyes were drawn right to the seat of your pants. I cannot blame him, as mine were too, just out of proximity. But it didn't cause me internal struggle; at least not for myself. I did feel pity for my husband that he was instantly driven out of the spirit of worship and into the spirit of warfare.

Of course men are accountable for their thoughts, and it cannot be made the responsibility of women to keep men in spiritual check. There will be men who will look longingly no matter what you wear. But to make it harder for the men who are trying to break free from lust is to create a stumbling block between them and God. I know you well enough to know that you would never continue to do something that would cause others to sin, so I am asking you to change this part of your life for me. Please don't continue to come between my husband and I, or worse, between him and God.

Your sister in Christ


http://trainachild.blogspot.com

2 comments:

Tanya said...

Praise God that you were able to write this. I hope and pray that conflict gets settled and that God's will be done. I have come before a friend and confronted her on things that I thought were wrong and it ended in bitterness on her part. We have mended but never spoken of the situation again. It is like it just vanished. I am not sure if that is good or not, but at least she knows where my husband and I stand.

motherofmany said...

I think that is often what stops us from saying what we need to say, but if it causes that much trouble to us, we are not being honesty by keeping quiet. And if things go awry because of an issues, which I have sadly experienced many times, it couldn't have been a very strong friendship based on trust or consideration. It can be hard to admitt what we know deep down about why we are friends with someone, especially if there are those areas we never bring up because we know the reaction.

We do have the example of Jesus to look at, and people didn't respond to Him well all the time, either. Fortunately, hot-button issues that cause a rift or end a friendship tend to make us at least consider the possibilities, and hopefully that will spur some action in the heart of the severed friend. It has happened to me- someone said something to me that hurt and our friendship was never the same, but I remember what she said even now and know it was true and I am consciously seeking for signs of that fault in myself.