It’s difficult to confront a friend when there is a problem. It’s easier to stay superficial, to demonise one another when you don’t agree, or to cut ties with someone at the first sign of trouble. But the Bible says, ‘One who gives a right answer kisses the lips.’ (Proverbs 24:26 NASB) Transparency deepens relationships and keeps our fellowship open and authentic, freeing us to speak the truth in love. No more lies or pretence. Tell your brother the truth. Remember, ‘Therefore, putting away lying, “Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbour,” for we are members of one another.’ (Ephesians 4:25 NKJV)
Relationships involve flawed people who make mistakes and get into messes. Friends need to be able to count on each other, not just for fun and affirmation, but for instruction and correction. Committing ourselves to a friendship means that, because we care on a deep, intimate level, we need to have the courage to speak up when a friend needs to hear tough words. True friendship comes with joy and responsibility. To avoid talking truthfully about a situation that’s hurtful, dangerous, or out of God’s will is to dishonour the friendship and the friend. When we’ve been trusted with the blessing of friends, we must love them enough to be willing to experience hurt, rejection, and even anger. In the end, truth heals.
Before addressing a difficult situation, if there’s any self-righteousness or the tiniest desire to get even, we should keep silent. When it comes to touchy subjects, our honesty must be accompanied by pure, loving motives. The Bible says, ‘Speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ.’ If your words aren’t infused with love, they’ll hurt rather than heal.