I didn’t grow up telling the truth.
Don’t get me wrong, we weren’t supposed to lie, we just didn’t tell the truth about the hard stuff.
In the name of southern grace we had an arsenal of tools to deal with the truth that involved joking about it, using sarcasm, avoidance of the issue, and this really tricky one where you tell someone else in hopes that they will address the issue. (It’s not gossiping if you’re trying to help, right?)
Which is why I was caught so off guard when my friend Beth looked at me in the car and said simply and directly,
“I understand what you’re saying, but I don’t think you’re totally right about that.”
Turns out she was right. Using a completely unbalanced gospel, I had convinced myself that I couldn’t put up boundaries anywhere in my life in the name of love. I’m sure you can imagine the amount of dysfunction I was buried under with that mindset. Her gentle rebuke that surely stung ultimately became a source of great freedom for me. That’s what truth does, it sets you free.
“Better is open rebuke than hidden love. Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.” Proverbs 27:5-6
The depths of honesty we are willing to both give and receive can gauge the depths of our relationships. A friend that speaks His truth is a friend we can trust.
But how do we give and receive honesty in friendship? How do we wound a lie without killing a friendship?
Beth has asked many a hard question of me and taught me a thing or two about how friendships grow. She became a friend I could trust with hard things and it deepened our relationship.
Here is what Beth has taught me about giving and receiving truth:
Connection provides context for telling the truth. Wounds from a friend can be trusted. This basis of friendship ensures that you have already invested the life-giving affirmation that lays the ground for difficult words. The common ground upon which your friendship was built will be the ground you till up when you have to address a lie, so you need to make sure it is good and ready for deeper roots.
Friends, I can’t tell you how lucky I am to even have Beth as a friend. One time, not too long ago, she was in a hard situation and reached out for help. I knew nothing. Absolutely nothing. I gave her some terrible advice because based only on what I could see right in front of my eyes resulting in so much pain.
When we reframe our, “You shouldn’t be doing that” as, “Why are you doing that?” or even, “Are you okay, I noticed that…?” we extend a hand of grace. We invite that person to show us the unseen things in their heart and their life and we welcome them to examine that question themselves. It forces our words to care more about the person than our righteousness.
Address the lie.
By the very virtue of telling the truth we are addressing a lie. I can’t tell you how many relationships in my life have crumbled under indirect confrontation. When we don’t aim specifically at the lie we often obliterate an entire person with our imprecise blast. Truth backfires when our friends end up as collateral damage./ We need our friends to know that we are not attacking them, but the enemy that is out to steal, kill, and destroy from them. Let’s make our aim at the enemy clear and our arrows straight with pure motives.
Our goal in truth telling is peace.
These are the things that you shall do: Speak the truth to one another; render in your gates judgments that are true and make for peace. Zecheriah 8:16
We can sink deep into friendship when we know in our heart that our friend won’t allow us to sit in bondage when we could be free. Truth not only deepens our relationships with our friends, but with Our God. Sisters let’s learn together how to be better truth tellers, how to be better friends.
But speaking the truth in love, let us grow in every way into Him who is the head—Christ. Ephesians 4:15
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I like to share about all the glory that God shows me over at my blog kayliehodges.com. I write about faith, family, and funnies. I love to listen to stories, and tell tales of the beauty from ashes that is adoption, and often motherhood in general. I am currently working on a book about sharing lives and sharing faith!