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.