I tend to gravitate toward people who tell me what I want to hear. I suppose that is typical of most people. But I find that a true friend is someone who loves me enough to tell me what I need to hear even if I don’t like it. I imagine that the Apostle Paul, never one to sugarcoat things, had this kind of relationship with Timothy. Amidst all of his encouragement in his second letter to Timothy, Paul tells Timothy:
There will be terrible times in the last days. 2 Timothy 3:1
He goes on to warn Timothy that:
In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. 2 Timothy 3:12
This is hardly the kind of news one wants to hear from a friend.
I am so grateful for the few friends in my life who will tell me the difficult truth rather than flatter me with half-truths; especially when that difficult truth has to do with my shortcomings. As Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived, states:
It is better to heed a wise man’s rebuke than to listen to the song of fools. (Ecclesiastes 7:5)
Thank you for placing friends in my life that provide me with encouragement. And thank you even more for their courage to tell me the truth when I step out of line. Amen.