What kind of a friend are you?
A few months back, my husband and I were talking with our pastor, Doug, about a few things. During the conversation, Doug said some hard statements to me regarding some character issues; things I needed to hear and that someone other than my husband needed to say to me, although they weren’t all that enjoyable to hear. Ouch! He apologized for having to be the one to say them, but I thanked him because I needed to hear those words.
Later, I was thinking about our conversation, and realized yes, I was grateful that Doug had said what he had to me. But I also realized that it shouldn’t just be my pastor who is willing to say them, but my closest friends. Do I really have friends like that? And am I really that kind of friend? The kind of friend who will also say the hard things when the hard things need to be said? Or am I a “yes man” who merely says things others want to hear?
I’m not saying that we should be going around pointing out peoples’ character flaws, etc. to everyone we see. But … I am saying that, if we are the kind of friends that the Bible says we ought to be with our closest friends, things will get messy because our crap (sin) will come up and affect each other. If we are those kinds of friends, we’ll be so open and honest with each other that character issues that need to be pointed out and worked on will show up. And yes, sometimes we will have to say the hard, but loving thing, if needbe. And why would we say it?
Because we love our friend(s) more than we love to not “stir the pot.”
Because the friendship means more to us than self-protection.
Because we are more about someone else’s well-being than what they might think about us.
But do we/are we … really?
And if not, why not?
We do not need to be best friends with everyone (nor could we be), but I do think that each of us has (or has the potential of) a few people around us whom we could potentially be really great friends with. The kind of friends who don’t just go out and do fun activities with each other, but who also talk deeply about life; about struggles, joys, and pain. The kind of friends who you “let your hair down with” and allow to see not only the best parts of you, but also the worst parts of you. The kinds of friends who you actually invite to speak the hard words into your life, either by a verbal invitation or merely the humble, teachable attitude by which you live. We were designed to live this way; in close relationship with others.
Do you have any of those kinds of friends? And are you that kind of friend? Am I?
This is an awesome post on friendship written by Noelle Piper, the wife of a prominent Christian pastor. Check it out – even if you are not a Christian, I would encourage you to read it with an open mind and learn from her; she is very raw about her own experiences and some great things to say about friendship. Don’t just read her thoughts on friendship, though – think about your own and ask yourself the hard questions about what kind of friend you are and the kinds of friends you have.