How do I explain the dangers of smoking and God’s plan for us to a friend in a godly way? I’m a WELS Lutheran, and have a Christian (Methodist) friend who smokes. After seeing what a relative of mine who smoked went through (gangrene, multiple amputations, necrotizing fasciitis, and eventually death), I’ve tried to explain to her the dangers of smoking. She tried cutting back, and for a while was doing well, but eventually fell back into the habit. A year after my relative passed away, we got talking about the issue once, and by then, I could tell that she couldn’t help but give up on quitting, as she asked me something to the tune of, “If God knows when we’re all going to die, anyway, what’s the point in quitting?” I couldn’t even answer that, as inside, my heart broke for her. I saw someone who would rather just give in and suffer any possible effects, than tough it out. I’ll always be a friend to her, even if she’s a smoker until her dying day, but I’d just hate to see her possibly suffer the same horrible effects that my relative and millions of others have gone through.

I commend you for your loving care and concern for your friend. You want what is best your friend and that includes her physical well-being.

You could point your friend to the Fifth Commandment. That commandment has the purpose of protecting life. The application of that commandment to our lives means that we take care of our bodies as best we can. This care addresses subjects such as diet, exercise and anything that can be harmful to our bodies.

There is more than God’s law that addresses the care we give our bodies. The Bible’s teaching of stewardship covers every area of our lives. Everything that we have and are belongs to God (Psalm 24:1). Faithful stewardship, management, of God’s blessings includes our very bodies (1 Corinthians 6:19). This means that we will not want to do anything that could shorten our lives. We live with that mindset because we entrust ourselves to the loving care of God (Psalm 31:15).

God’s blessings to you—and your friend—as you seek to work for the good of her body and soul.