We all need rebuke sometimes.
Men, women, children: everyone needs to get rebuked once in a while. We need to hear the hard truth because no one gets it right all the time, and that’s really okay. It’s not the end of the world to say you’re wrong. You can quit pressuring yourself into putting off a better holographic image than you really are. You can’t sustain that sort of tyranny over yourself for very long.
“I’m wrong,and I’m sorry.” It’s not so hard. It’s the first step to healing. It cuts our illusion of perfection. It says that weakness doesn’t mean we’re weak.
It’s not okay to cry your way out of this. It’s not okay to put up a mirror-defense by yelling “What-about-you.” If you get offended or take it personally or defend yourself, that’s fine: but it doesn’t absolve the truth you heard. If your friend is really your friend, it hurts them more to tell the truth than it hurts you. They get no benefit from this; they’re risking your friendship to be real.
Friendships are not all fun little fantasies that pamper our childish impulse for entertainment. Sometimes they are forged in the fire of love and vision. At times we require the gracious force of honesty and vulnerability, and that means trusting the pain of an uncomfortable rebuke from the mouth of your loved one. It doesn’t mean we get to be the truth-police. It just means that love between friends isn’t all games and giggles. It means I want to see the best in you, and I hope you have the outspoken audacity to see the best in me. Real friends speak with tears in their eyes, voice shaking, heart breaking, a quiet courage to say, “You’re better than this.” Friends do not multiply kisses, but move in for surgery. I thank God for friends who do this for me, without fear, in full grace and humility.
We can own our part of the problem and be liberated from our blinding pride. Without that sort of self-confrontation, you’ll get deluded into thoughtless decisions. You’ll be imprisoned into unwise patterns of thinking, circling the same drain, anchored to twisted coiled roots of outdated judgments. When you don’t confront sin in your own life, it controls you for the rest of your life.
I hope we have ears to hear each other in that awful, awkward, dizzying gut-shot of reality. I hope we can earnestly seek a wake-up call. I hope you do not shelter yourself between yes-men and groupies and pushovers. I hope you can take it as much as you dish it. I hope you consider your own flaws before jumping at someone else. I hope you know that God sends people your way, always, to deliver what’s real. And even when most of it is outrageous and unfair, there’s always a kernel to discern your own heart, to see where you might have gone wrong. You can own that tiny seed of truth. Grow, together.