A true friend will always hurt. Yes, always. And that’s just the surface of it.
Shock, realization, and pain—those three emotions surged through me as I heard the truth spoken right to my face.
And the truth hurts.
Paralyzed, I strained to listen as my mother and sister confronted me about how my selfish and haughty attitude had affected so many people around me and had taken over what I said, thought, and did. Deep down, somewhere within me, I knew they said these painful words because they cared, but that didn’t stop it from hurting.
Most of us might’ve heard of the “wounds of a friend” mentioned in Proverbs 27:6, which tells us, “Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.” However, many of us fail to look at this verse and ask ourselves a question, one that has driven mankind insane for centuries:
What is love?
Love is not being nice. Love isn’t attention-seeking. Love is found in the truth.
Whoa… I just dished out three culture-clashing, unconventional statements… But let’s just take a step back and think about what they really mean.
Have you ever heard of stories in which the villain does something seemingly benevolent for someone else just to get something out of it? To me, the ideal example of such a diabolical villain is none other than Hans in Disney’s Frozen! Was he “nice” to Anna? Geez, yeah! Just to turn around and use her trust in him to stab her in the back!
Would you look at that change... Who would've known his eyebrows could make him look so evil??🤨
This overly commercialized movie illustrates one crucial point: we can do something nice without feeling any love for whomever we’re doing it for.
We live in a culture that thinks being nice is love. Many times this causes people to misinterpret actions, categorizing people who do nice things but for their own benefit (kisses of an enemy) as loving and accepting, and people who don't constantly flatter others but genuinely share the truth and advice (wounds of a friend) as judgmental or harsh. Confusing world, right? If so many people are faking it and trying to put on a nice façade, then what is showing true love?
When we love, we desire God’s will for the other person, not for us to gain acceptance. Despite how much we want others to think we're nice and good friends, we can ask God to help us show compassion as a result of a changed heart that has truly experienced God’s love. When we love to get something back, even acceptance, to think of it, that isn't true love anymore. God's love gives. Unlike our type of love, it doesn't seek to gain and take.
Returning to the subject of being “nice,” it might be considered “nice” to let someone have what they’ve always wanted; therefore, gaining their favor, but is that always the most loving thing? What if a friend or family member wants to date someone whom you know will just lead him or her downhill? Are we going to go along with Hollywood and say, “follow your heart?”
Love is not attention-seeking but seeks the best for the other person. SO many times, we love so that we feel that WE are extremely lovable and admirable. Where is our focus? I've fallen into this trap so many times. Reaching out to others so that I would appear as the "selfless, righteous" one. But I've realized that if I truly reached out to someone because I loved them, I wouldn't constantly think things like: "Does he or she like me?" "Do they think I'm kind enough?" "Do they like being with me?" I've caught myself focusing on myself many times, and talked it out with my parents and God. I really hope to focus more on others when interacting with people!
John 8:32 says, “And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” Don’t you want your friends to be free? Free from the bondage of the world’s lies and their misconceptions? We should make it clear to them that we are telling them the truth because we truly care about them. Remain humble and listen to their side of the story. But so many times we find it extremely hard to tell our friends the truth, and we think we can’t bring ourselves to because we love that friend too much! Wait. Let’s examine our hearts. Is what we’re really afraid of the hurt we will feel when telling our friend the truth? We might be stopping ourselves from telling the truth that would help our friends, in fear of feeling the pain ourselves. We humans really have a knack sometimes for disguising selfish feelings as “good intentions.”
Whatever the case, remember this: All our actions should point others to God and His amazing love because no matter how much we try to love, the only person who can love perfectly is God.
So, let’s put away that façade. It’s hard. It hurts.
But it’s worth-it to be real.
I would love for all of you to respond to one OR both of the following questions in the comments below! Let’s spark some fruitful discussion!
1. What is one way you can show genuine love to and not just do nice things for a friend?
2. What is one thing you think you need to change in your heart concerning how you interact with your friends?
Lots of ❤️,