Better an open reprimand than concealed love. The wounds of a friend are trustworthy, but the kisses of an enemy are excessive. Proverbs 27:5-6
We generally don't take correction well. Who wants to be told they are wrong? Not many. I don't. Neither do you if you are honest. But if we continue to be honest, we will also say that it is better to be told a hard truth than a soft lie.
The fact is, most of us want to be better. We want to be better men, women, husbands, wives, workers, friends, etc. On a normal day, we just want to be us. On our best days we want to be the best we can be. And that means accountability. Most of us have a certain amount of pride inside. We want to be right, because 'being right' is the goal, right? I mean, no one aims for being wrong. Yet we all are wrong at times.
When we fall short, we will often receive one or more of a few responses from those around us. There are basically three popular responses to our failings...
Some will just quietly go on without saying anything. Perhaps they figure they aren't the policeman of the world, and it isn't their place to correct you. This is actually a fair response often times. Being wrong doesn't always rise to the level of accountability. If we corrected people every time they were wrong, we'd never get anything done. So, people overlooking our error is probably fine most of the time.
But then there are others who, 'for the sake of the friendship' will actually support you in your wrongness. These are people who will massage your ego even when you did something dumb or harmful. Sometimes they even end up lying to you, telling you that you made a good choice, when in actuality you made a bad choice. They tell you someone is good for you even when they aren't. Then when the relationship goes south, they tell you that the person was dragging you down. They basically build their counsel according to what they think you want to hear. In the process they are tearing you down while supposedly building you up. This is dangerous because you feel good about the friendship even though it is poisonous.
And then there are those friends who, 'for the sake of the friendship' will actually love you enough to be honest with you. They are encouragers. But they never encourage toward wrong. And they never excuse dangerous patterns or rebellious choices. They trust the friendship... and truth enough to let these two do their work. They will in a sense, slap you in the face in order to save your face. These friends hopefully know how to do this in love without crushing you. They aren't afraid of reality, and they care less about feelings and more about faithfulness. To them value is found not in making you feel more secure in yourself, but in helping you establish a healthy view of yourself and the habits that will make you a better person.
It is strange, but sometimes losing face is the only way we can save face. I hope you have friends who will wound you. I hope you weed out the enemies who shower you with kisses. If you don't have such friends in your life, get one. I'd say you probably already have that person, but perhaps you have marginalized them because they don't tell you what you want to hear. Whatever the case, be a good friend, and bring good friends into your closest circle.
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My name is David, and I want to know God more, and help other people find Him.