“Love without truth is sentimentality; it supports and affirms us but keeps us in denial about our flaws. Truth without love is harshness; it gives us information but in such a way that we cannot really hear it. God’s saving love in Christ, however, is marked by both radical truthfulness about who we are and yet also radical, unconditional commitment to us. The merciful commitment strengthens us to see the truth about ourselves and repent. The conviction and repentance moves us to cling to and rest in God’s mercy and grace.“Timothy Keller, The Meaning of Marriage, 44.
We need the kind of love that loves us enough to gently confront us. Keller eloquently explains that this is what’s so great about the saving love of God.
It’s also what’s so great about true friendship.
If you have friends who can gently confront you without fear of damaging the friendship you are very blessed. Our flaws are hard for us to see. We have blind spots. Our friends can see them–we need them to point them out if we are to grow into better versions of ourselves.
Painful? Yes. Sometimes excruciating. But far better than plastic relationships.
Give your friends explicit permission to push back, to call you out, to disagree. Ask them to do so with tact. Solicit advice, and seek to receive it thoughtfully and humbly. If and when it happens, thank them for loving you so courageously. If you’re going to offer correction to your friend, think about your tone. Consider carefully your timing. Put yourself in their shoes. Say it in the most palatable way possible.
This is the way of love.