7 Steps to Take When a Friend Falls

It happens. Someone we know and love falls morally. Here are some thoughts about how we might best respond in those situations: 

  1. Pray for the person and his or her family. Regardless of what happened, everybody involved needs the hand and grace of God. Pray especially for any innocent victims in the fall.  

  1. Pray that the person would come to repentance. In some cases, the person is immediately repentant and sorrowful. In other cases – often when he is “caught” – the person isn’t yet ready to admit wrong and repent. Pray his heart will change. 

  1. Check your own heart. Do you grieve the fall? Or, is there something within you that subtly delights in the person’s failure? Are you angry at him, perhaps so angry that you’re unwilling to forgive? Or, does the fall remind you that you’re dangerously close to the same kind of fall, too? Perhaps even committing the same sin?  

  1. Choose not to gossip. Telling others about the fall can sometimes be no less sinful than the action of the fallen person. Beware especially of any tendency to cloak your gossip in statements like, “We really need to pray for _______ because he ________.”  

  1. As opportunity allows and is appropriate, offer prayer support. Sometimes the person essentially disappears in his rebellion, and there’s little we can do. When the door for ministry, including the ministry of confrontation, remains open, prayerfully follow the Lord’s lead in responding.  

  1. Pray for the person’s church. Church discipline is at times in order, and that process can be painful. Pray particularly for pastors who must lead the way.  

  1. Pray that God would protect you from temptation (Matt. 6:13). None of us is immune to falling. Every fall ought to make us sense our own vulnerability and drive us to pray the way Jesus taught us to pray.  

What would you add to this list?   


  • John W. Carlton says:

    A man divorced his wife just after a baby was born and took up with another woman. Very soon thereafter he was hospitalized. I went to see him and told him, “If you ever need a friend, I’m here.” He responded to me, “Same here.”

  • I didn’t necessarily “fall”, but I did divorce my husband. For a whole year, the church we both attended did not speak to me or acknowledge me on the street(we live in the same town, which I thought would be easier for our young kids). So, my words to add to this is: don’t make snap judgments until you hear from all sides or the horse’s mouth and then pray with knowing the facts, instead of assuming you already know them.

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