It’s never fun to realize you’ve been called to have a hard conversation.
I am not a drama-lovin’ girl. I try to avoid it at all costs because well…truthfully, it exhausts me.
This is precisely why I begin to say “No, no, please God, no! Anything but that!” and feel I must go fetal in the corner when I feel Him nudging me to face something in a relationship that I would rather just bury under a rug and move on my merry way.
Hard conversations are not my forte. So because of thise, I pray fervently for direction and guidance before I answer the nudge to engage in one because I know there is no way I’m going to make it out alive without Him guiding my words.
Yes, friends. There are times to draw boundaries in your friendships and no, this does not make you 1) selfish 2) unkind and 3) un-Christian.
There’s this confusing myth when we accept Christ that we all must be accommodating and overlook some less-obvious sins of our brothers and sisters because of the whole thing about having a log in our own eyes (Matthew 7:3, NLT). We are all so scared of that one verse and the one about the adulteress who was brought to Jesus by her townspeople (John 8:1-11), that we often feel we should dare not utter a word because we ourselves are not without sin.
And then there’s Proverbs 27:5-6 – “An open rebuke is better than hidden love! Wounds from a sincere friend are better than many kisses from an enemy.”
We are called to speak the truth IN LOVE when our friends are sinning against us or anyone else for that matter.
These conversations are usually so scary to us because we CARE about the person who will be hearing our “open rebuke”. If we didn’t, we would likely not think much about the outcome of our words.
We have to be truthful and real with our friends but here’s the kicker: it must be done in love. With a sweet tongue and without malicious intent.
However, what happens when we have a difficult conversation with a friend and it backfires? What should we do while we are left scratching our heads wondering if we should have said nothing at all and just simply “pulled back” from the friendship?
I wish I knew.
But I can tell you what I think.
First you pray and ask God to 1) reveal your part in this and seek forgiveness if necessary and 2) to guide you on the next step.
Then, you keep your head up. You don’t gossip about it; however, I do think it’s OK to seek counsel from one or two trusted friends who possess Biblical knowledge and can offer wise counsel on the next step. You don’t worry about what other people will think because your honor comes from God (Psalm 62:7) and you keep your eyes on the cross.
You realize that in this particular season, it might be YOU speaking to your friend about a hurt, but in the next season, it could very well be YOU with the misstep. Let’s look at Ecclesiastes 3 and think of it in the context of friendship:
1 There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
2 a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
3 a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
4 a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
6 a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
7 a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
8 a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.
(Check out Matthew Paul Turner’s version in his own words – love it. He blogs at “Jesus Needs New PR” and he’s one of my faves.)
A conflict worked-through by two healthy parties willing to seek full reconciliation can absolutely be a way to guarantee solidification of a lasting and authentic friendship but there are also times when we must draw a boundary for our own emotional safety and for the good and well-being of our family.
“As a dog returns to his vomit, so a fool repeats his folly.” – Proverbs 26:11.
Don’t be a fool. It’s OK to step away from a friendship if it is having a negative impact on your life. BUT…
If he or she is hungry, we must feed them. If they are thirsty, we must give them something to drink. (Romans 12:20)
We must tame the tongue and set that boundary. It’s so easy in these situations to become part of the sin that started the whole ball rolling but if we can remain in Him, He will remain in us and we will have no doubt that we have done all we could do to salvage that friendship.
Some things are just beyond what we can do, friends. In fact, MOST things are beyond what we can do. That’s why we have Him.
And we press into the cross and we love and we release and we don’t give up on friendship. It’s far too valuable to allow one bad experience to keep us in a stronghold and deny us the beauty of relationship.
Because to everything, there is a season…
I’m joining in with little miss Jen at Finding Heaven for the Soli Deo Gloria Sisterhood…Hop on over and read these impressive ladies!