The Right Kind of Friends

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As Paul says, it is difficult to battle evil alone (Rom. 12:15-16). This is why it is important to develop relationships with people who will encourage you and give you biblically sound advice. These friends should also be willing to correct and admonish you when they see that you are in the wrong (Prov. 27:5-6).


Godly advisors are especially helpful when you are involved in a difficult conflict and are not seeing the results you desire. If a lack of noticeable progress causes you to doubt the biblical principles you are following, you may be tempted to abandon God’s ways and to resort to the world’s tactics. One of the best ways to avoid straying from the Lord is to surround yourself with wise and spiritually mature people who will encourage you to stay on a biblical course, even when the going is tough.

Taken from  The Peacemaker: A Biblical Guide to Resolving Personal Conflict
by Ken Sande, Updated Edition (Grand Rapids, Baker Books, 2003) p. 250

Food for Thought

Some time ago, I was miserably slogging my way through a painful conflict. I knew all of the biblical peacemaking principles by heart–but here I was having to live them out after having been terribly hurt by someone. During that time, I wanted to surround myself with “yes men” who would pat me on the shoulder, tell me how “wrong” and “mean” the other person was, and basically just feed my idols, unbelief, and selfishness.

Thank God that instead, he sent me godly and wise advisors who loved me enough to tell me the truth:

“Tara, you are focusing on yourself, your circumstance and the other person. Of course you will only despair! Look to the Cross! Remember Christ! Fix your eyes on eternity!”

“Dear one, we are praying against anything or anyone that would enable you to get out of this situation.” (I wanted to run far, far away–both figuratively and literally!) “Instead, we are praying for the grace for you to persevere in love. How can we help?”

“It’s OK that you don’t have any faith right now, Tara. Take comfort in the Lord and his Body. I’ll believe for you. Trust in him. Let me serve you. Let’s go to the Lord in prayer.”

Even though my heart cried out, “No!”, I knew they were right. I am so grateful for these godly advisors.

So the next time you are facing a conflict or broken relationship, ask yourself these questions:

  • Am I surrounding myself with people who only tell me what I want to hear? Or do I have true friends, wise and godly advisors, who love me enough to tell me the truth?
  • Are my “friends” just placating my complaining and whining? Or are they leading me in repentance, confession, and faith?
  • What kind of advisor am I? Do I bring others the hope of the gospel and the practical help of biblical peacemaking?

 — Tara Barthel (Billings, MT) is a former attorney and director at Peacemaker Ministries, and the author of our new Women’s Study. She currently serves her family as a homemaker while regularly speaking at women’s events and blogging on God’s considerable grace

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Wow, how many times do you find yourself in this place, someone has hurt you, and you run to the nearest friend to agree with your emotions, to defend your honor against the other ‘bad’ party?

I know I’ve done it, plenty. But where should we go, dear one?

comments?

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4 responses »

  1. Honestly I go to Kris (my Kris, who lives in my house and is the opposite gender of you Kris LOL). I may get crabby at first if he tells me I’m wrong but after awhile I’m ok with it. I just have that level of trust with him that I *know* he’s not going to say something against me to be mean or to be in control. That’s the place that it comes from, we fear that if someone tells us we are wrong then that means they are better than we are, or they think poorly of us. When really if it’s someone who we KNOW loves us like God loves us they won’t tell us something to hurt us but rather to help us. The Bible talks about correction from a friend is better than sweet words from an enemy or something…sheesh now I’m going to have to go find that verse. It’s in proverbs 😉
    ~~its wonderful to have that kind of trust with the one you married for life. Most people don’t feel they have it. Did you find the verse yet?

  2. I have both kinds of friends..but honestly, if I’m copping a bad attitude (and I know it) I tend to keep it to myself..or tell just the Mrs…who NEVER rubber stamps my bad “tude”…
    ~~Doug, im like you, i tend to either keep it to myslef or give it to Jim. Where we should go is to God first, then a friend we know will guide us to God. I have one like that, her name is Leslie. i love her.

  3. My two cents…

    Do we really need more than the Holy Spirit to correct us? And if we’re not responsive to the Holy Spirit will we really respond to any human who attempts to correct us?

    Either we have little faith in the Spirit or we have more concern about pleasing others than pleasing God.

    Worse yet, what happens when we believe it is somehow up to us to make sure our “brothers and sisters” are obeying God properly? We end up with what we have in evangelical Christianity: A bunch of people running around making up new things you ought to feel guilty about.

    God is big enough to tell his children what they need to know without help from me.

    (Except for Krislinatin–she needs my constant guidance.)

    ~~Kevin, you are right, we need the HS to correct and I think we need friends to help us. not tell us if we are obeying properly or judging us for not doing things the way they would do things. but someone to give us a little nudge and love and help and encouragement.
    Example: when i am upset and want a drink, i have 2 friends i could go to, 1 friend would pour me a glass of wine and say lets talk, another friend would tell me, no you dont need that lets lead you back to scripture.
    To whom should i go to? Well, God first. [but since I’m probably not gonna listen to HS becuz im wanting to do something ‘sinful’] i would head to ones of my friends, who incidentally, live right down the street 🙂
    God is big enough to tell us what we need to know. now we need to be quiet and listen to Him. [except for krislinatin, of course, i have Kevin 🙂 ]

  4. If you’re going to continue writing things that convict me, I’m going to have to stop reading your blog!!!!
    ~~i think you will hang around!~~ xoxo

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