involved in a relationship that had its troubles. At one of the many attempts to repair, restore, and reconcile, she mentioned that there were numerous times when she did not tell me certain things because she was afraid that I would disagree with her.
I was shocked to hear this because, as I told her, one of the reasons that I appreciated her friendship and told her certain things was to have her confront me if she thought me wrong. I told her that while I didn't think friendship was meant to be combative, I did believe that it was meant to be rightly and lovingly confrontative. I don't want friends who only think that everything I do is absolutely right. I know it's not. I am grateful for those who lovingly, Biblically point out my error so that I can repent and be corrected.
The friendship with this particular woman did not last. In the years since I have often replayed that conversation. I do not think my error was in pointing out truth or even in disagreeing with her on things, but I do know that He has allowed me to grow in tact and graciousness. And still growing.
Yet, the truth remains that when it comes to saying what I think, I am decidedly plainspoken. The most common comment on my plainspoken habits is that I can be intimidating. Maybe I'm a verbal bouncer of sorts. I don't set out to be, but I admittedly do not care to "play the games the reindeer play." (Think Rudolph's song.)
I was having this conversation with another friend via phone the other day. I told her I wondered what people meant when they say that a friend to them is like iron sharpening iron when realistically it sounds, looks, acts, and quacks as though they only seek out those who verbally affirm everything they do and or say. Isn't that more like a silver polishing cloth on silver, barely tarnished?
Iron that sharpens iron involves grating and filing and even comes with sparks! too. The friends that have most helped me grow in understanding and compassion and in the Lord are those who challenge my thinking, my feelings, and my actions. They cause me to measure myself not against them or against my own wrong standards but against His Word. And Hebrews 4:12-13 will give you all you need on what it's like to have His Word work you over, work you through, and work in you.
Plainspoken I desire to remain. Growing in understanding how to confront lovingly and Biblically, with tact and graciousness, I desire as well. Sparks are in my future it seems.