When Your Friends Can’t Stand Your “Obsession” With Jesus

In early 2010, Jesus decided to annoy the mess out of me by getting his hands on one of my closest friends. One week she was partying and engaging in all kinds of godless banter with me, and the next she was shopping for Bibles and acting like Mother Teresa. The change in her behavior left me speechless (a rarity!) for some time. But as we ate dinner together one evening, I finally asked her, “Did you get God-happy?” That was my snide way of asking if she had become a Christian. She chuckled and said, “If that’s what you want to call it, then yeah . . . I am God-happy.” She then went on to tell me about this recent encounter of hers with Jesus. Though I was certain she had lost her mind, I nodded and smiled as she shared how deeply he had affected her life. I really was happy she was happy. I didn’t understand why she needed religion to attain that happiness, but hey—whatever works.

In the weeks following, I poked fun at her newfound churchliness, but I wasn’t abrasive—not at first, anyway. I had not a smidgen of interest in religion, but I wasn’t some militant atheist who made it my life’s mission to attack the beliefs of others. If you felt like you needed to get you a lil’ Jesus on Sunday, more power to you—just don’t make me feel like Adolf Hitler if I don’t want to join you. Besides, I really thought my friend’s religiosity would fizzle out. Living in the Bible Belt, I had seen my fair share of people get excited about God and church and what not. After a few months of holy rolling, they always simmered down. I figured she would go through a similar process. She would balance out a bit and realize not everything had to be about Jesus.

But she didn’t . . . she got worse.

I vividly remember the day I realized the seriousness of her Jesus-freakness. A girl we both knew posted on Facebook about how grateful she was God helped her make the college tennis team. With a mixture of humor and annoyance, I commented: “Honey, Jesus had nothing to do with you making the tennis team. You worked hard for months; that’s why you made it!” With disapproval written all over her face, my newly Christian friend asked me to delete the comment, insisting that God did help this girl make the tennis team. Seriously? No—no he didn’t. Jesus did not jump out of heaven and meet this girl on the courts at 7am every morning to practice. She set her mind to something, and she accomplished it because she was willing to do what it took. I deleted the comment to appease my friend, but at that moment the reality of her craziness became undeletable. She was in deep—real deep. I didn’t know if she would ever fully recover from all this religious brainwashing.

As time ticked forward, Christianity consumed every aspect of my friend’s life. I would ask her to hang out, and she couldn’t because she would be downtown serving homeless people with her dorky church friends. She would express dissatisfaction with her job, and I would tell her to resign, but she wouldn’t because she felt like Jesus wanted her there. I couldn’t even enjoy my dinner without her weirding me out across the table, closing her eyes and praying silently before she ate. I mean, come on! Your whole life didn’t have to be about J.C. (my preferred name for him, back then)!

Her faith really began to grind my nerves . . . and I didn’t hide it. I became increasingly hostile to her face. I told inappropriate jokes about Jesus. I criticized her pathetic Christian friends. I made great effort to regularly rub my “sinfulness” in her face. I constantly tried to tempt her to “sin”—to go out with me to clubs and get drunk, etc. I was intentionally offensive and abrasive, thinking maybe I could wear her down. I thought if I just pressed hard enough, she would begin to see how ludicrous all of this was and start acting like a normal human being again.

But she didn’t . . . she got worse.

My friend continued to love Jesus more and more, despite my best efforts. And what was even more shocking to me was that she continued to be my friend. Crazy, right? If I had been in her shoes, I would have kicked me to the curb a long time ago! She didn’t, though. When I pushed her buttons, she remained calm. When I mocked her faith, she didn’t retaliate. When I tried to stir up an argument about her beliefs, she responded in gentleness. One day, I asked her straight up if she thought I was going to burn in hell forever because I was gay. Her response was one I didn’t see coming: “Matt, I don’t know why God has allowed you to experience these feelings. But I do know that everyone is tempted to do things the Bible calls sinful. And with all my heart, I believe the Bible is true. Though I will always love you no matter what, I do believe the life you are living is sinful. But I don’t think you will go to hell for being attracted to guys—I think you will go to hell for not accepting Jesus as your Savior and refusing to surrender your desires to him.” I didn’t even know how to respond to that kind of . . . non-judgmentalism? She was truthful, but kind. Firm, but gentle.

I would have never admitted it at the time, but my friend’s expression of Christianity was refreshing. The way she walked out her faith was so sincere. She believed Jesus loved her despite her crappiness, so she loved others despite their crappiness. She believed Jesus was a friend to sinners, so she was a friend to sinners. And though I would have never admitted this either, the way she lived her life was piquing my interest in her God. I remember praying to him two or three times in the months leading up to my conversion. They were all “Hey, I don’t know if you’re real. And because you might not be real, you probably can’t hear this. But just in case you are up there, I just wanted to say I might be interested. Okay, bye!” kind of prayers, but they were significant. Something inside of me was shifting. My heart was softening. Jesus was getting his hands on me.

And he was doing it through the steadfast love of my friend.

After nearly a year of enduring the war I waged against her faith, my friend rejoiced with tears as I began to cling to Jesus alongside her. God opened my eyes to see what she had been seeing all along: the irresistible beauty of Jesus. Though he wasn’t tangible, he satisfied my heart more than any tangible person or thing ever had. He was so merciful, so powerful, so gentle, so righteous, so wonderful, so perfect. In what felt like the blink of an eye, I became just like my God-happy friend. I was a joyful prisoner of Jesus Christ.

You do see how integral my friend was in my conversion, don’t you? Through her patient love and refusal to silence her faith, I was continually exposed to bits and pieces of the gospel and eventually transformed by it. Every time she endured my mockery, I got a glimpse of Jesus. Every time she shared the truth in love, I got a glimpse of Jesus. Every time I deserved nothing but her rejection and she continued to stand by me, I got a glimpse of Jesus. She embodied the gospel.

If you have a friend like the pre-Jesus Matt Moore, I beg you: 1) don’t silence your faith when you are around them, and 2) love them with the kind of unshakeable love with which my friend loved me. Don’t lash out in anger when they push your buttons. Don’t cut them out of your life when they degrade and offend you. You have no idea what kind of enlightening work God might do in their dark heart through your commitment to love them without condition.


  1. Anja says:

    Matt, I’m so happy and grateful to have found your blog. I’m a recent convert and now feel it is my duty to share what I know to be true with others. It’s not easy in this day and age, but your post has inspired me not to give up. Love the thought of people like you existing in this world! God bless.


  2. Lyle Nelson says:

    What particularly struck me about this story was the length of time involved between your friend’s conversion and your conversion. Generally speaking, God does not move instantaneously in a person’s life to make such a major decision. It usually takes time and patience, and those qualities only come with the Holy Spirit’s working, and having the attitude that God will move when He is ready to move, and not a second before. Only He makes that decision.

    And, although your story appeared to involve at least primarily only one friend, many such conversion stories are spread out not only over time, but amongst multiple people. One or more may do the sowing of the seed and other(s) may see the fruit.You may not know this side of heaven the results of your efforts. You must do your job, often without fully realizing your effectiveness.

    Also, not all non-Christians are openly hostile to Christianity. Particularly in the Bible Belt, you may see many so-called “cultural Christians” who regularly attend church, perhaps participate in a few other Christian activities, generally are not in any way hostile to Christianity, and so you think “They’re OK; they’re “in” and I don’t need to minister to them”. However, with a closer look coming through more involvement in their lives, you may begin to see that their lives do not remotely reflect their so-called faith. They’re a Christian on the outside, but their heart is far from God. They are more difficult to spot, but every bit as much in need of your witness as is someone who is overtly hostile to Jesus.


  3. Jon Evan says:

    “Though he wasn’t tangible” ! But He was 🙂 He was and is…

    That’s what Philip said to Jesus about the Father. “Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how can you say, ‘Show us the Father ‘?
    And that’s big! Because we are now tangible Jesus for others that they might see Him in us, touch Him, and hug Him. That’s our responsibility to others and we need to understand that :).


  4. David Lytton says:

    What an amazing inspiring testimony Matt. Your friend whose love for Jesus and concern for your welfare is amazing. And now you are in love with our great Messiah forever, awesome! I can vouch that He is beautiful, gentle, righteous, wonderful and the most desirable person in my life. I’d be lost without Him. Now you have His “shalom” throughout eternity.


  5. I can understand both sides of this topic, completely! Except now I can see, because my Lord Jesus opened my eyes with clarity to what exactly was transpiring between you and your friend. It’s amazing to me that, even though you and I were both raised in the “Bible – belt” we could not have been so different and yet so much alike.
    If any of my friends got saved back before the war, so to speak, and talked to me about salvation through the blood of Christ I mostly sat with my head down while I felt myself dying a little. I never joked back at them and I kept my mouth shut if others around me did, because honestly I was terrified of God! Then I might try to avoid running into them again, but secretly I was always happy when I did see them somewhere!


  6. M.C. says:

    “Matt, I don’t know why God has allowed you to experience these feelings. But I do know that everyone is tempted to do things the Bible calls sinful. And with all my heart, I believe the Bible is true. Though I will always love you no matter what, I do believe the life you are living is sinful. But I don’t think you will go to hell for being attracted to guys—I think you will go to hell for not accepting Jesus as your Savior and refusing to surrender your desires to him.”

    So good. The world could use more people like your friend. Shoot, the church could use more people like your friend. You’re a lucky man to have such friends.


    1. Jim says:

      I was moved by your friend’s words that M. C. quoted above. It was a beautifully worded response to your question, which can be a really difficult one to answer. I’m thankful to have found your blog. It’s a moment of encouragement for me each time I read it, ministering to me as I work through chronic clinical depression. Lord, I pray that You will bless Matt, that You’ll continue to give him wisdom, that You’ll continue to grow him in his faith, and that You will continue to guide his every step.


      1. M.C. says:

        Hey Jim, agree with your prayer for Matt. I’m always encouraged reading his blog too. His words always seem like they’re pleasing to Jesus. I’m usually hitting his blog because of some failure or struggle. What’s been so good isn’t that I end up feeling better, or thinking clearer, or deciding to do better. Me being me those things will change. It’s Jesus himself that I need and find having been here. So, your prayer’s mine too brother. God bless you too on this journey.


  7. Andrea Swarts says:

    God bless you Matt!! I want to be like your friend!!


  8. Awesomesauce my friend.


  9. Brandon Burrell says:

    Beautiful! And confirmation for me. God is really moving in the lives of my friends, and has really been dealing with me, about how much I actually trust Him to woo them into His eternal kingdom, just as He did me. If I trust Him, I understand that I don’t have defend myself, Jesus Christ is my defense, and His own. I don’t have to win any argument, it’s already settled. Jesus Christ loves, because as love’s Creator, He knows how powerful love is. He’s put His own love for others inside of us. We just need to trust Him. Out battle isn’t against other people,.or ourselves, but against principalities and powers and spiritual wickedness in high places, all of which were vanquished by our Lord over two millennia ago. He’s freed us to love those who know Him, and those who don’t. It will never be by our might, or our power, but by His Spirit, which He placed inside of us. Amen.


  10. Michael Carrington says:

    Wow cools story bro nice ending I was not expecting that Shalom


  11. Lori says:

    VERY encouraging as I, too, live to share the love of Christ – I’m not worthy, but He chose even ME and to share in His plan of salvation and I am forever changed and grateful! Praise His name🙋 Thanks for sharing your precious testimony – profound and eye-opening to those of us who share in your friend’s struggles and attempts to witness! And for sharing your side at the time of unbelieving. We are currently dealing with these same tactics from the unbelievers within our family and it’s tough, but you have revealed that flicker of hope that He’s moving AND working!! Thank you, again, for sharing and may you remain blessed!!


  12. Anastasia Moser says:

    Wwoooowwww awesome story !! Good for you ! I’m so happy you finally saw the Light. It is what I pray for every night. That the lost may be found. Thank You Jesus !


  13. Chris Nova says:

    alot of “christians”, in truth, are unexperienced people, who dont believe in themselves much, I really honestly believe that people who invoke jesus name over every little tiny thing in life, are seriously mistaken, you dont invoke the name of the son of GOD over trivial small everyday things that u can handle just fine on your own… you ask for jesus help when things are SERIOUS + GRAVE..havent u heard the story of the boy who cried wolf? u dont ask GOD for HELP everyday with every last little thing.. OH jesus.. help me make it home safely from my appointment.. oh Jesus… change this person or that person.. this is religious obsession.. i have no problem with someone loving jesus but i strongly believe if jesus was here, he himself would even agree and say that he never intended humanity to be calling on his name 1000 times a day about small trivial things, and in such an immature way. These same people often try to literally COMPETE with how “holy” they are. religious obsession truly is the result of a mental illness similar to schizophrenia where the brain isnt working 100% proprerly.


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