Have you ever felt like God led you to someone right at the moment when they had a great need for a friend and a counselor? That’s what Fran is facing at their church’s weekend retreat. Fran noticed a new woman, Cynthia, who seemed troubled. She had broken down in tears when Fran asked if anything was wrong, and they have now found a quiet place to talk.
“How did you know something was wrong?” Cynthia asks Fran through her sobs.
“Just the look on your face, I guess, Cynthia,” Fran replies. “Do you want to talk about it?”
“No, I don’t want to but. . .” Cynthia hesitates. “I think I’m going to burst if I don’t talk to somebody.”
“Well, I promise you I will keep this conversation confidential, if that helps,” Fran says.
“Yes, well, it does. It just seems funny talking about this to a complete stranger,” Cynthia says.
“But you know,” Fran assures her, “I don’t think it was an accident that God put it in my heart to talk to you.”
“Yeah, I guess so. In some ways it’s easier to talk to a stranger about it. You see, I. . . I. . .I’ve been having an affair with a married man. . .” Cynthia’s words come out slowly with great pain.
“Umm, I see,” Fran replies, without alarm. “Are you continuing that affair now?” she asks.
“Well, I keep telling him that I’m not going to see him anymore, but as soon as he calls, I give in,” Cynthia answers. “You see, my husband left me with two kids five years ago and I guess I’m just so lonely. . .”
“Cynthia, do you want me to talk with you straight?” Fran asks.
“Yes,” Cynthia says, “I guess I need some straight talk.”
“Well, then, the first thing you have to do is absolutely sever this relationship, immediately, finally, forever, with no further contact of any kind. Whatever it takes to keep him from contacting you, that is what you have to do,” Fran advises. “Are you willing to do that?”
Cynthia is silent. Fran wonders if she was too strong, too hard on her. But she hears the voice of Jesus: “Don’t say anything, Fran. You’ve given her biblical advice that is right, so let her think about it. Don’t back off.”