I’m Here for You Day 6: Speaking Truth When It’s Difficult
“Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy.” (Proverbs 27:6, ESV)
“Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” (Matthew 7:3-5, ESV)
“If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother.” (Matthew 18:15, ESV)
“Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.” (Galatians 6:1, ESV)
I can confidently admit that I am the worst at confrontation, especially among friends. It’s hard, right? You can never be sure how they will respond, and it often leads to the fear that it will ruin your relationship. Honestly, it’s possible. After all, who likes to hear about what they’re doing wrong? However, to truly love another person is to seek the best for them, and sometimes the best means telling them when they’ve wandered. The truth can hurt, but lies leave damage that cannot be repaired.
Before we can confront a friend, we must be confident in our approach. We should not confront someone because we are feeling bitter or hurt. Confrontation over sin should come from a place of love and with a gentle spirit. First, we must look at ourselves to be sure we have removed the log from our eye, and only then can we speak up to our friend. What this really means is that we cannot come to a friend with a “holier-than-thou” attitude. Rather, we should come with humility to our fallen friend and speak gently with them about their sin.
Confrontation is not a spectator sport. When we air our grievances for all to see and hear, it can cause irreparable damage. A true friend does not make a show out of speaking up to a fallen friend, but instead speaks with them privately. This small effort is an act of respect between friends. Communicating privately through text is okay, but a face-to-face conversation is the best option. This effort reassures them that you are not screenshotting messages and sharing with others, and it is much easier to gauge a person’s tone of voice.
You can go about confrontation in all the right ways and yet your friend can still react poorly. When criticized, most people react defensively. When a flaw is revealed, it is so easy to defend ourselves and reject criticism rather than listen with humility. When you do encounter a defensive friend, be patient. Sometimes people need time to process. Honestly, most times people need time to process. We want so badly for issues to be resolved immediately, but when human emotions are involved, we can rest assured that it will take time. If your friend reacts poorly, simply wait. Give them time to think about what you have said and pray that they will know that it came from a place of love and compassion. No matter how long it takes, if you know that you confronted that person with humility, respect, and gentleness, you can have peace that God will do the rest.
My challenge to you today is to work on removing the logs from your eyes. When we can be confident in our own standing before God, we can more easily confront a fallen friend in humility and gentleness. If and when you are presented with the opportunity to confront a friend, do so with grace, compassion, and understanding. Even more so, if you are the friend being confronted, remember to listen with humility and understanding to those who care deeply for you.