Why I Have Friends… Part 3

Posted by Brandi Wilson

We’re back to our “Why I Have Friends” series. Today we’re talking about truth. Yes, truth, sounds easy enough until you have to give it out… or receive it.

Having friendships means you will have pain.

There will be times when you cause the pain. Even if you’re the friend and also the pastor’s wife you will still have to be honest and share truth. The two very close friendships I have lost during our time in ministry is because I kept my mouth shut and tried to remain “neutral” as their pastor’s wife rather than loving them through some hard truth they needed to hear from me… as their friend. One of the main places this will get “cloudy” for us is when your friendship is with a staff member… someone employed by your church… sometimes someone who is a direct report to your husband. And let’s be honest, we spend a lot of time at and in our churches and often our friendships are built with people on our staff. I’m not at all saying that is wrong, but it does add a different set of challenges.

By choosing to remain “neutral” in my situation not only did my friendship dissolve, but I forced truth to be delivered our staff, which isn’t necessarily wrong, but would have better been received coming from me as the friend. I had the equity in our friendship to lovingly share where I disagreed, yet to avoid conflict I allowed someone else to deliver news that would have been better received if it had been conveyed from me.

As a friend you are called to love through the good and bad. To deliver hard news that will hurt in a loving way. If you, as their friend, are not brutally honest with them who will be? And I use the phrase “brutally honest” with a heart full of love. Don’t intentionally hurt them, but speak truth. Seek delivery through prayer, ask God to soften hearts and give you the words and the timing.

It’s what I want and expect out of friendship. I have a couple of close friends who I know will say the hard stuff to me regardless of the fact I’m the “pastor’s wife.” They’ll love me when I’m selfish and full of negative thoughts. And because they’ll willing to speak truth to me I can pull out of the darkness.

Friendships cause pain… they also cause laughter, growth, community and an intimacy I believe we were created for. It’s the main reason “Why I Have Friends.”

As I was writing this post my “Daily Verse” was delivered in my inbox. I’m including it because it so specifically speaks to pain we might feel in life, in ministry, in parenting… and in friendship.

You have kept count of my tossings; put my tears in your bottle. Are they not in your book? Then my enemies will turn back in the day when I call. This I know, that God is for me. Psalm 56:8-9

Perhaps you’ve visited the beach and kept sand in a bottle to recollect your memories. Consider the imagery of God holding each one of your tears in a bottle. God treasures your tears and hears you at every moment of your suffering… and remembers.

This was not an easy post to write and I hope my heart for authentic relationships has come through. I think so often our focus in ministry is “to find a good friend” and sometimes we need to stop and think about “being a good friend.”

I’d love to hear how you’ve shared and received truth successfully (and even unsuccessfully) in your friendships.

Why I Have Friends… Part 1

Why I Have Friends… Part 2

10 thoughts on “Why I Have Friends… Part 3

  1. Kathy

    I relate to all these so well. I prayed for years here at our current church for good friends until one day God laid on my heart to BE a good friend! And just recently I confronted a friend who hurt me so bad in her words. I knew I wasn’t the only one so I knew my pain needed to be talked about. So hard to mix church/friends/PW sometimes. I feel it’s. Lot by trial & error. I’ve done it wrong many times I feel and lost friends. I think being honest with those friends you truly love & respect is so key!

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  2. Josie

    I relate to this post. My most difficult friendship decision was to remain silent with a friend whose husband was a real jerk, to many people. He also was a pastor. She was absolutely blind to his flaws. He would explain all their difficulties with people as spiritual warfare, literally using phrases like “Satan was setting traps” for them. She was naive enough to believe him. Maybe he even believed it himself. I was ultimately left with the choice of talking with her about his problems that had hurt so many which would potentially cause a rift in their marriage or remaining silent which would ultimately dissolve our friendship. I chose silence. I still stand by that because of the husband/wife relationship, but it is still tough. We were very close friends and I still have never expressed to her fully why I drew away. It is so hard to know what to do in these instances. Thanks for sharing, Brandi.

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    Josie Reply:
     February 21st, 2012 at 8:48 am

    And, since my friend is a pastor’s wife and since you are too, Brandi, if you feel led to tell me how I could have better handled it or how I could rectify the situation now, I would really appreciate your input.

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    Brandi Wilson Reply:
     February 26th, 2012 at 7:47 pm

    Honestly, Josie… I think you did the right thing. Especially since she’d given you no reason to believe she was “open” to seeing truth. I know that was hard to pull away and choose to stay quiet but in that situation it was probably the correct choice. Speaking up would have totally ended the friendship more than likely… now you’ve just created some healthy distance.

    Definitely keep praying for her and keep some limited contact. There might be a day where she needs to open up and you are still a safe place.

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  3. Cindi

    I have been at this point not very long ago. I went to a friend(who i thought to be a really good friend) who also works alongside me in our children’s department about a situation regarding a couple of the children(1 being mine) and the way she was handling them. As the pastor’s wife and a friend, I felt like i should talk to her. It really backfired on me. She didn’t receive it the way I intended it. :( it was a really hard time for me! I still struggle with this daily!

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    Brandi Wilson Reply:
     February 26th, 2012 at 7:50 pm

    Cindi… Sorry your friendship is struggling right now. My heart hurts for you. Praying for you and the reconciliation of you and your friend.

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  4. Grace Jones

    These posts really struck a chord with me too- in the past two weeks we have had to share some hard truths with a close friend, namely that her husband has been stealing from our family. Since this is not the first time this has happened, we are seeking legal means to show him that there are consequences for bad choices. To the point he has been arrested a few times because he will not stop threatening us and contacting us.

    Anyway… This has put a big strain on our
    friendship, obviously. And it makes me feel as though friendships aren’t worth it. But I know that God does not want us to walk through this life alone. Therefore even though they are hard, friendships are worth it.

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    Brandi Wilson Reply:
     February 26th, 2012 at 7:49 pm

    Oh Grace… this is heartbreaking. Praying for you and for your friend. I can’t imagine having to following through with pressing charges against your friend’s husband.

    Praying for you all as you move forward… so sorry you’re facing this.

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  5. Susanne

    This was such an awesome post, Brandi… thanks so much for sharing. As a “wallower” and former “Pit Dweller” I am one to pull away when I am wounded. But I have been blessed with an amazing friend who loves me enough to give me truth and say, “Get up! What are you doing?? Do you not know WHOSE you are?!?” This helps me to walk in victory and believe that no matter what happens, God has a plan, and is redeeming every circumstance for my good and His glory!! Hallelujah for awesome friends!!!!

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