Call it crazy, or the work of God?

At the moment, its looking very possible that next year in college instead of living in an Honors College dorm; I may be living off campus. The catch is that the three guys I would be living with are all heavy partiers to put it mildly. To be more blunt, one of them dealt drugs in high school, and all three of them do drugs at least every other week in college [and are of course heavy drinkers]. Sometimes I’m invited to go to like a monday or tuesday party with them…

That being said, one of them in particular said he wants God back in his life (who I thought was an atheist). I know one of them is a “Christian”, and dont know about the 3rd guy. But the upfront reason they want me to live with them is basically they know Id be a good influence on them. They’re like: u can help us study, since we have a lot of the same classes; and keep us in line. They said, “yeah, thats what we’d get out of it… I don’t know what you’d be getting out of it”. Obviously I look at it as a very challenging opportunity to help my brothers and spread the truth of Jesus Christ and his Church.

Im about 70-30 for living with them atm. If nothing else, if I don’t bring any of them closer to God, I feel at least I can keep them alive. That is a serious concern for me atm, one of them has gone to the hospital for alcohol poisoning, and has woken up numerous times and didnt know where he was. Like a month ago they started reaching out to me, basically bc they’ve alienated a lot of ppl at college, and have basically isolated themselves to a very small crowd of ppl (who are all just as screwed up as they are).

In prayer yesterday I felt the Lord calling me to: 1. Go to a non-denominational retreat over the summer, which basically teaches u how to go into ministry for the Lord. And they truly are nondenominational, they’re fine with helping Baptists or
2. Live with these clowns next year.

Even growing in my faith over the entire summer, I understand I won’t be able to convert my friends. But, if the Lord chooses to use me as his instrument in the world, then of course I have faith that they will come to Christ.
So, is this crazy? playing with fire or temptation? am I doomed to failure?
Or, is this the work of God? should I try to be a light for these poor souls who are clouded in darkness?

Thanks for ur thoughts in advance,

Hi David,
I can’t recommend either of these things. First, the non-denominational retreat. They’ll teach you how to bring God to the people, but what God? Instead, I would get a spiritual director (talk to your pastor and he can recommend someone), and he will guide you in your Catholic faith and formation. Inquire in your diocese about youth retreats and rallies. Consider contacting the Bible Christian Society for volunteer opportunities. They’re located in Pleasant Grove, less than an hour from the University of Alabama. They are a Catholic apologetics apostolate.

Second, living with “these clowns” next year. This is simply a recipe for disaster. Once you’re with them, you’re stuck with them for 8 months or a year. There is a significant chance that they will have a very hard time cleaning up, and that is a dangerous place to live.

But, don’t cut off contact with them. You can and should be a light for their clouded souls. You just shouldn’t live with them.

A very common temptation for young people (I remember- I was one once!) is to think that you can do more than you can, to think that what others might view as a serious temptation would not be a temptation for you.

This is a mistake.

The situation as you have described it is not just a disaster waiting to happen- it is several disasters waiting to happen. Don’t be one of them. This is not a recommendation to selfishness on your part. This is a recommendation to use the brain that God gave you, not the pride with which you are being tempted.

Even to be available to them, to reach out to when they are blind drunk or stoned might very well be more than you should be taking on your shoulders. One problem with using the popular saying “What would Jesus do?” for guidance with decisions is it is a temptation for us to think that we ARE Jesus. You are going to college to learn, not to be an enabler to heavy drinkers. Every kind of help that you describe yourself as being able to give is really enabling them to keep on slowly destroying themselves.

If God wants you to go to college, then go to college. Learn, get a degree, if your degree is in counseling then come back and help people like this in a capable way. Do not join them.

Well, thank you both, indeed.

Two of the readings in Church this week I think are pretty relative to this situation.
1 Corinthians 2:1-5
Matthew 5:13-16

My faith is in the power of God, and can never be in my own wisdom. And clearly my presence among these men will be a positive influence. Should I not put the light of my faith forward for all in the household?

I’m gonna discuss this with at least one good friend in a few days face to face. I wish I could have a face to face discussion with more ppl about this, so both of us could really get what we’re saying.

I don’t know if I can describe this situation well enough. For me, just the way the turn of events happened, it was very difficult to apply for dorms next year. In fact, I didn’t have a working phone to call my dad before the deadline on campus dorms. At the same time my wayward friends come to me with a far easier off campus option, not to mention much cheaper. Its not like I’m going out of my way to choose to evangelize with where I live next year. Just the way the cards fell, I can’t help but thinking its not just a coincidence.

One of my best friends goes to parties with these guys pretty often, hes also at a frat house at another college, and yet he’s never drank in his life, and probably never will out of principle. Sure, he’s been a positive influence in their lives… but he can’t be in their lives very much at all.

I’m never gonna throw these guys under the bus, as many ppl hav already done. But, spirithound, how much can I really be a light for their souls if I’m just passing through like once a week. Or once every 2 weeks.

I mean… these guys know me pretty well. They know what they’re signing up for when they ask me to live with them. And yet, somewhere in there they want that influence. Believe me, I know these guys are fully capable of using ppl for stuff (like being friends w ppl just for alcohol or whatever), but clearly the only thing they could get from me is some kind of grounding influence.

Its not like they want me to live with them to corrupt me. “Lets show some Christian boy how to party”. Thats just not the case here.

Look, I think its just gonna be hard to relate this on the forums here. I’ll keep trying. But, I’m probably gonna live with these guys next year. So, please pray for me brothers. Please pray that I have the strength of God with me and his aid.

I will pray for your strength and purity. Of course, this could turn out wonderfully, but it could also go horribly wrong. I am quite removed from the situation. I don’t know you, or your friends, or the dynamics between you. But, how much you would be a light to them is up to you. If you were to live with them, how do you anticipate being a light to them?

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