This is a guest post by Michelle Myers, who writes about Faith, Family & Fitness and has an excellent story to share about God’s plan and work in her life. I hope that you’ll check out her book and blog, I’m incredibly inspired by and admire her work! “When life is so much more complicated than just uttering the dude word!”…
When “Dude, Just Eat Something” Doesn’t Work…
Confronting someone with an eating disorder is never comfortable. Eating disorders are as unique as the individual, so there’s no “one size fits all” approach to starting this critical conversation. However, here are some general guidelines of how to biblically approach someone with a sin issue in their life, such as an eating disorder.
Speak the truth in love. No matter how difficult it may be, don’t just look the other way. Eating disorders have managed to create an image as a disease rather than a sin addiction, but that’s just a lie. Yes, eating disorders have physical consequences. Yes, eating disorders are very much a mental battle. But so is being addicted to cocaine. Speak truth into their life because you love them.
“Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth. Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.“
– Ephesians 4:14–16
After you address your concern, pray for them before you leave, and ask them to pray about your conversation on their own. If you were angry with someone and they prayed over you, how would it change your heart? You probably would find that your heart was softened just by their words. The power of prayer is incredible. Don’t just tell them you’ll be praying for them. SHOW them by praying for them right then so they can see how you are actively taking their life to God.
“Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends You, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.“
– Psalm 139:23–24
Remind them if they just submit their whole life to God, He will change them. The power of addiction can seem so strong that there’s no way to overcome it. That is a LIE! What seems impossible for us isn’t even difficult for God. It’s just a matter of giving Him control.
“For I have told you often before, and I say it again with tears in my eyes, that there are many whose conduct shows they are really enemies of the cross of Christ. They are headed for destruction. Their god is their appetite, they brag about shameful things, and they think only about this life here on earth. But we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for him to return as our Savior. He will take our weak mortal bodies and change them into glorious bodies like his own, using the same power with which he will bring everything under his control.“
– Philippians 3:18–21
“No human wisdom or understanding or plan can stand against the Lord.” Prov. 21:30.
Ground them in His Words…not yours. As no-brainer logic as “Dude, just eat something!” may sound, eating disorders are much more complicated. No matter how great you think your argument is for why they should stop their destructive behavior, your words aren’t sharper than a double-edged sword. God’s are. Give them as much Scripture as you possibly can that applies to their issue, and allow the Holy Spirit to convict them.
“And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.“
– Romans 12:1–2
“You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body
and knit me together in my mother’s womb.
Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!
Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.“
– Psalm 139:13–14
Remind them that God has already forgiven them & help them find the path to forgiving themselves. One of the biggest issues any repentant Christian will deal with is guilt. They may not be willing to admit they have a problem after your first conversation, but it never hurts to remind them of the grace we have available to us because of Jesus’ selfless death on the cross.
“So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death“
– Romans 8:1–2
You can read how God restored me to Him and to health in my book, The Look that Kills: An Anorexic’s Addiction to Control.