Spiritually Speaking

Question: I have a dear friend who I’ve known since high school. We’re now in our late 60s and, interestingly enough, she’s on one side of the political aisle and I’m on the other. We agreed not to talk about politics but lately she’s insisting I listen to her views.

I think she’s trying to pull me to her side of the aisle and, frankly, I’m not interested. We both attend the same church together and we agree on our religious views. Is there a way I can ask her to stop this without ruining our friendship? I have to say that I really get upset when she starts in on attempting to bring her political views into our conversations. I have reminded her we had agreed to not discuss politics and it seems she doesn’t understand what I’m trying to convey. She has her full wits about her, so I don’t think it’s that she’s forgetful -– just overbearing. I’m at a loss of what to do.

I like the phrase, “What would Jesus do?” and appreciate any advice you have for me.

~ Best Friend

Dear Best Friend,

What a blessing to have a long-term friend to reminisce with and with whom you can confide. I’m delighted that your faith views are consistent, which gives you a basis to plead your case. As wonderful as it is to hear that you’ve been able to navigate your differences thus far in this heated political climate, I’m not surprised that your aisles are widening. In theory, agreeing to disagree sounds pretty basic. In practice, it can be an entirely different matter.

There are a few things for you to consider. As you’ve done in the past, and consistent with the words of Scripture, the first step is to go to your friend directly and let her know how you feel about breaking your agreement regarding conversations about political agendas.

Confrontation doesn’t have to be messy. Choose your words wisely and speak from the compassion in your heart. Remind your friend that you respect her right to her feelings and opinions, but that doesn’t mean you necessarily agree. You’re on opposing sides of the aisle, as you say; not a new situation, and you’d like to remain respectful of each other’s views without having to agree. Thus, back to the former state of “agree to disagree” to preserve the friendship you both cherish.

Hopefully that will be enough to assuage the current challenge. If not, you might consider appealing to your friend’s wisdom. James 1:5 instructs, “If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and He will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking.” (NIV)

Wisdom might come in the way of praying about the subject individually or together. I think it would be an excellent opportunity for you to pray together, allowing Holy Spirit to surround you both in a time of wisdom seeking. Proverbs 2:2 underscores that space with the words, “Turn your ear toward wisdom, and stretch your mind toward understanding.” (CEB)

These suggestions are effective ways to maintain and perhaps enhance the friendship while still allowing for differing world views. However, suppose these strategies fail to solve the dilemma. In that case, you may need to have a frank and transparent conversation about the impact of breaking your original commitment and how you’re feeling as a result. Then follow up with sharing the lovely aspects of your friendship as a way of encouraging peaceful resolution. The hope is that she’ll hear you and feel the same about preserving your long-standing bond.

I pray you’ll be surrounded by heavenly wisdom and discernment as you share your heart with your friend. I also pray you’re able to hold space for her to process her feelings about your sharing. Ultimately, I pray His grace and mercy will strengthen your friendship as you seek to perpetuate a lasting relationship. Lean into your faith and anticipate a positive outcome.

Be well & be blessed!

Lucinda Guarino

Lucinda Guarino


Dear Best Friend,

What a treasure you have in such a long relationship with this dear friend of yours. I’m sure you’ve experienced many ups and downs in life together and have shared many joys and sorrows. It’s sad that in today’s culture polarizing opinions about politics, masks and so many other issues are driving a wedge between friends and families. As believers, we look to the Scriptures for guidance. And when we do, we see that many of the New Testament writers focused on unity and love as the basis for Christian relationships. The apostle Paul admonished the Ephesian believers, “Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace.” (Ephesians 4:2-3) (NLT) Then in verse 15 he reminds us that we have a responsibility in our relationships with others to “speak the truth in the spirit of love to one another.”

The foundation of all of our relationships in life is truthfulness. That’s what allows us to maintain unity and love with others. If your friend truly appreciates your friendship, she will be open to hear how you feel when she brings up her political views. Tell her how important her friendship has been to you over the years and how you don’t want anything to hinder that friendship. Remind her that you are pleased that you are united in your faith and love of God and that you don’t want anything to come between you. But you chose not to discuss anything of political or social nature that could drive a wedge in your relationship.

I know that Jesus understood the difficulty we would have in relationships when He prayed on the night that He was betrayed in John 17:20-21 (NLT): “I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message. I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one – as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me.”

I trust your friend will hear your heart and will honor your friendship by agreeing not to talk about her political views.

Blessings to you both as you are united in the spirit of love and the bond of peace.

Pastor Randy Foster

Question: Our son Ted, who was only 51, recently passed away from COVID. He had all the vaccinations and was a paramedic. He transported many people to hospitals since the pandemic began. Even though he was super careful about wearing gloves and masks, he still came down with the virus.

We’re devastated. Kids are supposed to outlive their parents! He had a beautiful family, including his wife and three adult children. We’re all having a difficult time accepting his passing. His memorial was on Zoom. We are attending a virtual grief group that is helpful, but each and every one of us finds ourselves crying every day. It seems the conversations we have always end up by talking about what a great guy Ted was. He was a great provider, husband, father and son.

Is there any way, in your perspective, that we can get over the deep sadness we’re experiencing? We know we’ll always carry him in our hearts and still we are having a difficult time getting on with our lives. Your thoughts are deeply appreciated. ~ Grieving Family


Dear Grieving Family,

I know that there are no words that can ease your pain right now. All of the platitudes I could give you about getting “over” your grief or “moving on” from this devastating loss would be trite and hurtful. However, you did ask about how to “get over the deep sadness” from a spiritual perspective, and I will share with you what has been shared with me by wisdom teachers, mentors, and seekers of truth.

First, there is no magic timeline for recovery from the death of a loved one. We must allow ourselves all the time we need to accept the tragedy, feel our feelings and understand that our lives will never be the same.

Second, there is no way to get around it; there are only ways to go through it. When we bypass the pain with denial or distraction, the pain always comes back, demanding to be faced. When my brother passed away suddenly at 44 years old, it happened to be the same day I was bringing my baby daughter home from the hospital. Needless to say, I was focused on my infant and I stoically shoved down my grief and pain. Years later, I found that my deep grief for the loss of my brother was inescapable and I began to work through it.

Writer Julie Yarbrough says, “We grieve because we love. The greater our love, the deeper and more profound our grief.” Having a faith in eternal life can give you comfort in the belief that you are only parted from your loved one for a while, not forever. What are your beliefs about the human soul continuing after death? Buddhists believe we are reincarnated again, and again, until we achieve enlightenment. Muslims believe that Allah (God) decides who dies, when they will die and if they will receive punishment or reward after death. Christians believe in eternal life through accepting Jesus as their savior.

In my New Thought community, we believe that the human soul is eternal and is always part of the one life of God, beyond physical birth or death. “The Grief Recovery Handbook” by Russell Friedman (www.grief.net (http://www.grief.net)) may help you understand the different stages of grief. I suggest that you do not focus on how and when you will get through this deep sadness. Let your tears flow without judgment. Focus on the love that your son gave you, which not even death can take away. Carry him with you in your hearts, talk about him, remember him and savor each precious moment you have with your loved ones who are still here with you.

Rev. Karen Mitchell


Dear Grieving Family,

I am so, so sorry for your loss. And you are right: children are not supposed to die before their parents. Let me thank you for giving the world your son Ted, who obviously gave everything to help others.

Your loss seems doubly hard because you said Ted had received all the required vaccinations. Again, such a tragedy isn’t supposed to happen. But it does.

In my own extended family, the only child of an older couple died at age 47 of testicular cancer leaving behind a wife and two almost-grown sons. One asks, “Why?” But there is of course no answer.

You seem to be people of faith. But faith does not make us bulletproof. As Jesus said someplace in the Gospels, God sends the sun and the rain on both the just and the unjust – and the truth is, even Jesus didn’t have an answer!

While you will always miss your beloved son, try this: Console others in their pain. For some reason when we help others, even though we are hurting, somehow our pain diminishes. There is a poem I have often used at funerals called, “Miss Me, But Let Me Go.” I can’t exactly remember the last line, but it says something like, “When you are sad and your heart is aching, remember me with good deeds … Miss me, but let me go.” By the way, the older couple who lost their only child at age 47 and of course still miss him – that couple, while still in pain, attended the wedding of their former daughter-in-law when she re-married. I was there. I am the minister who performed the ceremony and the three of us cried together afterwards.  

Thank you again for the gift of your son Ted to the world. Think how much poorer the world would have been had Ted never existed.

The Rev. Skip Lindeman

The Rev. C. L. “Skip” Lindeman