How many friends do you have? How many close friends do you have? I bet you have at least one person who you are close to–a friend, sibling, aunt or uncle. I have a few close friends and then there’s my best friend. Some of them I’ve known for years and others not so long. To some of them I speak exactly what comes through my mind and to others I watch what I say.
Have you ever noticed some people don’t really have any friends? They just stay in the back round; however, sometimes they talk to everyone yet still don’t manage to keep friends. Everyone has their own reasons for this. Most people don’t have very many friends because of shyness, but one reason may be because they talk too much! Not very likely huh?
Everyone snaps at them because they say stuff like, “your hair’s very messy, that skirt doesn’t look good on you, you shouldn’t be so mean to your sibling, you should give in when you know you’re wrong, you should be honest to your boss.” I admit some of these would be tough to here from someone else. But would you really want to show up to a formal dinner with messy hair? Or want to walk around town with a skirt that didn’t fit you? I’ve heard girls lie to their friends when they asked them if their hair was messy because they didn’t want to hurt their feelings. So their friends walked around with messy hair. Some of us don’t care about messy hair, but that’s just an example.
Now telling someone they should act nicer to their sibling is a lot harder and probably more realistic , yet it tells the same meaning. It takes more courage, but didn’t we cover this a few months ago in The Courageous You article? We are courageous! By not advising someone to be nicer to their sibling they–or we could miss out on a wonderful relationships, that instead turned into hatred. What if one of our friends started smoking or drinking? We can’t control what our friends do and we can’t force them to do anything, but a real friend will tell us when we’re doing something wrong. Just like a real friend will tell us that dress or skirt is not our fit, because they’d feel more sorry for us if we would be embarrassed in front of everyone, than if they would hurt our feelings for that little while. My mom does this to me all the time! And I do appreciate it. I’m not always happy about it–most always because I’m embarrassed that she would have to remind me, but in the end I like that she told me.
Better is open rebuke than hidden love. Wounds from a friend can be trusted . . . Proverbs 27:5-6
Like I appreciate Mom’s truthfulness, how much more would a friend appreciate advice about something major, like stepping off the path. How much more would we appreciate their advice to us? Would we rather want to have our friends angry at us for a while or would we rather want to save them from embarrassment, doing something they would regret, hatred, a bad reputation, or a broken heart? And same goes to us. Would we rather want a bad reputation and who knows what else, or would we want the truth, which would save us from all that. Most always they will not appreciate it right away, and we will not appreciate it right away. They might throw a fit! Often times we throw a fit. We even ignore them at times, like they might even ignore us at times. I’ve experienced both situations, but in my experience it usually turns out good. Note: I said usually. In the end it’s up to our friends, it’s up to us. If we will take the advice or if will ignore it.
Listen to advice and accept discipline, and at the end you will be counted among the wise. Proverbs 19:20
If they never take the advice we gave them, then we know we tried. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 16:14, “Let all that you do be done in love.” A friend who truly loves us will try to worn us. A friend who truly loves us will not support our wrong decisions if they know it’s wrong. If we truly love our friends then we will not be afraid to voice the truth. The truth is hard to hear, it’s hard to give, it’s what will set us free. (John 8:32)