I was sitting at her table. We were sipping our coffee and she began the conversation with “You know how much I value your friendship and I love you, but we really need to talk.”
I could tell it was difficult for her so I put her heart at ease and told her to just stay what she needed to say. Don’t sugar coat it, just say it. You see, I knew that whatever she had to say, no matter how hard it was or how much it might hurt she loved me and wanted God’s best for me. History had shown that she would always have my best at heart.
What my friend shared that day was hard to hear. Listening to someone share the areas of our weaknesses and failure, our sin, is not easy even if you know they care deeply about you.
And yet it is necessary. As a believer in Christ I can not walk this walk alone and I need my sisters to be willing to correct, warn, instruct, rebuke me just as much as I need them to show love, grace, forgiveness and compassion.
I have noticed a trend recently where people are unwilling to correct or warn their brother’s and sister in Christ against sin or a wrong attitude in their life. We call it judging and become defensive. We see it as a personal attack.
I understand. I have done the same. I can still react in that way. But what I am learning is to embrace discipline.
Discipline can come from a dear friend with words filled with love or they can come in the form of criticism and said with a not so loving attitude.
We I need to remember that God can and does use the words of our friends and our enemies to discipline us. He desires children who are obedient and following hard after Him. So it is a wise man or woman who embraces reproof. Who loves discipline, because they know that a disciplined life leads to our spiritual well being. It leads to spiritual growth.
When we willingly learn from reproof and obey God’s word we then will walk in wisdom and understanding. Our walk becomes a walk that is consistent with Christ.
While I would prefer the reproof of a dear friend, I am learning that God uses both to show me areas of my life and heart that need changing – that needs forgiveness.
Oh Father humble my heart, help me to embrace those moments that You choose to show me my sin, weaknesses and wrong attitudes.
Trust in the LORD with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes ; Fear the LORD and turn away from evil. Proverbs 3: 5-7