Welcome back. You belong here.
Ever been in a situation when you have to cross that line from being a friend (meaning I don’t speak truth into a situation) to being a real friend and speak truth with grace?
I’m in that spot right now and it’s not easy. Whether young or old, I see a generation that wants me to love them and accept them but with strings attached, in other words, “as long as you don’t tell me what to do.”
I agree, no one likes to be told anything, but even the mere mention of God’s truth, of consequences to their actions is hard for some. In some cases, the actions are harmful to others and to themselves and still I get “leave me alone…just be my friend.”
What is a friend?
Solomon speaks of this:
8 There was a man all alone; he had neither son nor brother. There was no end to his toil, yet his eyes were not content with his wealth. “For whom am I toiling,” he asked, “and why am I depriving myself of enjoyment?” This too is meaningless–a miserable business!
9 Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work:
10 If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no-one to help him up!
11 Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone?
12 Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.
Truthfully, it’s also hard for me when I fall and others try to help me, or better yet they tell me things before I fall. But I’m learning the need for truth in my life – “David, that was unkind, David, that went long, David you didn’t show up.” After all, I do those things….I have to accept them.
So I try to be a friend, which to some means you stay on the surface, and yet try to reflect truth with grace and kindness. This is not easy for me, but I find it’s needed in the Body of Christ. Some respond with acceptance, others respond a week later, others leave the church. Jesus told the adulterous woman, “you are right in saying you have no husband…” OUCH! Truth exposes reality, but then Jesus said, “go and sin no more…” Grace, help, acceptance.
Which way do I lean? I have a hard time saying things nicely without offending people. So I say them in fluffy ways and then one day I make myself clear and people are shocked. I am working on always being clear, to the point and having things well thought out, with advice from others, checking my math twice as they say, before I make that phone call.
Ultimately, I know I can’t change anyone, only the Spirit of God can. I can only ask God to use me to speak words of truth and grace, and err on the side of grace always! People know they’re screwed up, I know I show up late to things, I know I drop off the children late (sometimes!)….I need grace, help, a plan to improve not to be condemned.
On the other hand, you and I need truth, to talk about the things we’re doing that hurt ourselves and others and to help people through those times.
Restoration, restoration, restoration, that is the goal of discipline, of truth in all this, Jesus came not to condemn the world, but that the world would be saved through him. That’s my desire.
Have a great day.
Into the future,