Christian Counseling: Caught Between Two Women and a Conscience

The Doctor Is In question:

So i dated this girl name S. for less than a month and we decided to be friends. Then later we find out she has cancer. Because of her cancer and her going into coma i have come closer to god and regained my faith. after gaining my faith my ex L. called me and wanted to get back. Everything was going great until my girlfriend L. started getting jealous of S. when i was with my L. i never met up with S. but comfort her and talk to her and try to be there for her on the phone. Of course after a while L. got mad and jealous because i still talked to S. But with my conscious i couldnt tell her i need to leave her alone and ignore her. Shes on her last stage of cancer and has little time to live. All S. can say is blame god that shes dying and do bad things like try to party and hurt herself. And on my part im trying to save this girl to change her way of thinking so she can be at peace before she passes away. i just dont know how to tell L. and comfort her so she doesnt hate S. She hates S. so much she blames her for ruining our relationship. All this jealous and anger hurt her. I only love L. and love S. as a sister of christ. L. is also a christian but not close to god and its hard for her to understand that im not tryin to cheat on her or play her. i just dont know what to do and say. sometimes i wish she took all that jealousy and hatred away and prayed for S. to so both of us can somehow be happy. please give me some advice to talk to L. so she can understand and not hate me for it. or is it my fault that i cant let her go and ignore her? my conscious would be filled with guilt if i just ignored S. she only has couple months left to live.

The doctor’s response:

God uses many avenues to woo us back to Him, and I am glad you responded favorably.

One of the hallmarks of Christian maturity is to follow not only God’s words as revealed in the Bible, but secondarily, to follow the law of our own conscience about those things the Bible is silent. Not to follow our conscience can be as wrong as not following His direct commands and implied ideals.

Francois de la Rochefoucauld, a French author and moralist, wrote, “In jealousy there is more of self-love than love.” Jealous can easily destroy any good and strong relationship, often due to insecurity and distrust. Once a person gives into the jealous control of another there is almost no stopping it. I strongly recommend getting counseling for you and L. and see if you both can work though the relational problems. Further, I wonder what led to your breakup with her the first time. If it is about the same issues, it is going to be tough to bring about resolution the second time around.

You say you want to save, comfort and help S. and it appears you may feel responsible for the feelings of L., which would suggest you are playing the role of rescuer or savior. Because a person needs rescuing doesn’t mean we should be the rescuer. Perhaps a more reasonable and helpful role is to be a listener who joins with another in pain as he or she finds a way out of conflict. Sometimes the person in trouble needs to be the rescuer. As a counselor, I am often thought of as the one who heals, comforts, mends, gives saving advice, etc. But the truth is I reveal my observations and tell people what I think and experience. I help them find their truth and encourage their activity in the change process. I journey with them by invitation. I use the simile of being like two horses, side by side, pulling the wagon of problems. By far the majority of the work done is the clients. I cannot heal others or lead people out of depression or make them feel better or do the right thing. I do not have that kind of power, and even if I did I would not use it, but honor every person’s right to exercise freewill. Much in the same way as the Father did with the prodigal son. S. has a right to choose how she wants to live and end her life, right or wrong.

Regarding S’s comments about blaming God and partying. Most everyone wants to live before they die. By living I am not referring to surviving (though that is also likely true), but connecting to, finding meaning and purpose and enjoying life. Perhaps partying for her is her way of trying to connect to life or it may be a response to her anger for God. Being angry with God is normal for most all of us in this world. However, most refuse to go there and be honest with themselves. For S., being angry with God is none-the-less a relationship because she recognizes there is a God and He has power and it is a point of connection. It is far, far better to have an angry relationship with God than one of neutrality or no relationship. She is connected to God, albeit not positively. It might be helpful for her to give vent to God about cancer and having to face death. It could free her to see Him differently and pray differently. Perhaps she will come to see that underlying her anger is great sadness or a hope that God will spare her life. However, spiritually saving her is between her and God. You and I can only be a witness to our own experience with God that can serve as a welcomed light to a soul caught in the darkness. Beyond that we have no responsibility for the decision of another, regardless of how much we want to help or want something good for someone we care about.

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