I am having great difficulty behaving lovingly towards a Christian friend. She appears to be picking holes in everything that I do, and it is hard because I am trying to be a loving sister of Christ towards her. But I find myself saying things behind her back. I try to pray about it, but I know that I am going to continue the habit. How can I change this?
Jesus provided the answer to your question when he said the following,
But the things that proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and those defile the man. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders. (NASB) Matt. 15:18-19
Our words and actions do not just happen. The real source of our evil thoughts and words is not from our mouth but from our innermost being. That is Jesus’ statement.
Anger Is Root Cause
But that is not all that Jesus has said about our innermost being. He identifies the root cause of our evil thoughts and words during His Sermon on the Mount.
But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; and whoever shall say to his brother, “Raca,” shall be guilty before the supreme court; and whoever shall say, ‘You fool,’ shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell. (NASB) Matt. 5:22
In His example, He says that anger towards another person results in unkind words towards that person. In your question, you add that you are “saying things behind her back.” This indicates an unloving, angry attitude towards her. The solution to an angry heart is to admit or confess to God that your are angry with her – that you have sinned. Ask the Holy Spirit to take control of your life and give you victory over this anger – even to fill your heart with God’s love for her. Spend a lot of time reading the Bible. The Holy Spirit uses the Word of God to shape, model, and transform us (Rom. 12:1-2).
I would also encourage you to take some positive steps toward her. Start by doing different things for her that show her that you love her. It is hard to be “picking holes in everything” a person does when he or she is expressing love to you. Jesus has encouraged us to love even those who hate us (Matt. 5:43-48; Rom. 12:17-20).
I would also encourage you to purchase a book entitled “Anger is a Choice.” The author is Tim LaHaye. You will find some great help in this 190 page book. God has promised to forgive our sins. What a great comfort. I would also encourage you to pray for her!