Right now, I’m reading the book of Job, so friendship is on my mind quite a bit. I know it’s strange to say, but Job really is one of my favorites. 🙂 I was thinking this morning about how LONG the dialogue between Job and his friends continued. Maybe I should rephrase: Job allowed his friends’ diatribe against him to go on for a really long time (chapters and chapters and chapters!). Not sure I would have sat there for that (I would have struggled, I’m sorry to admit!). However, Job didn’t end the relationship with his friends. Since he allowed them a front row seat to his troubles, they also had a front row seat to his restoration. What a gift it must have been, to be able to see that season come full circle.
Job could have left his friends at their first criticism and no one would have blamed him. But he stayed. Because we often don’t know how to handle confrontation, we often run at the first cross word. However, this is oftentimes a wrong response. Here’s my balancing comment: for the next little bit, please understand that I am talking about close friendships with like-minded people.
A true friend is someone who should have the earned privilege of speaking truth into your life – and you should have the earned privilege of speaking truth into theirs. Relationship gives you the opportunity to let “iron sharpen iron” (Proverbs 27:17), a mutual benefit to godly relationship. King David insists that correction from a friend is a kindness: “Let the righteous strike me; it shall be a kindness. Let him rebuke me; it shall be as excellent oil; let my head not refuse it” (Psalm 141:5). There are times when correction is necessary, even helpful. David even considered correction an act of loyalty. There are times when friends disagree – and that’s okay. As the pastor’s wife in our church, I watch it happen time and again: friends disagree, and rather than hanging in there together, they allow a difference of opinion to drive a wedge. Couldn’t you have a difference of opinion, discuss, continue to respect each other, and continue to move forward? Most of the time we can; but most of the time we don’t.
Grace is required to give godly correction – even more grace is required to receive godly correction. By allowing a wedge form over a correction, you are also cutting yourself off from the wisdom and opportunities for growth that the Lord means for your godly friendship. The Bible says that “the wounds of a friend are faithful” (Proverbs 27:6), meaning that truth from a friend is to be desired, even if it hurts at first.
You cannot be EFFECTIVE in relationships without being AFFECTED. Feel all the feels – but don’t let a godly relationship (and the growth that can come from it) end unnecessarily. Don’t shy away from relationships, using confrontation as an excuse.
Learning that you can go through it and grow through it together is a treasure, I’m praying that you have and maintain these kind of blessing friendships in your life ❤
p.s. Job’s friends are a whole ‘nother story – let’s visit about them next week and get a little balance to this conversation! See you next Monday!