I have some really good friends.
Last week was a really down week for me. It started on Sunday which, ironically, was a great day! I got to lead worship with a fun band, preach the Word and see my wife after she had been away for a few days! Unfortunately, on Monday I got an email that I knew was coming and wasn’t looking forward to, then another email on Tuesday and then I went into a meeting that didn’t go well. By Wednesday, I was just feeling beat down.
“Am I running this church into the ground?” “God, I thought you were blessing us so obviously over the last couple of months, what happened?” These and other negative thoughts were running through my head.
I texted a friend who reminded me that God is much bigger than these minor setbacks that I had been experiencing and that this church is about Jesus, not me.
Then another friend walked past my office and could tell I was off. So, he came in, closed the door and made me pray with him, then reminded me that this church is about Jesus, not me.
While the circumstances didn’t change, my perspective did. In Matthew 16, Jesus told Peter I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. Of course, my mind was more focused on the work I needed to do to build his church and I was despairing because I believed that lie. The truth is that I am not responsible for the church’s success, but for my faithfulness to obey God when He directs.
Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy. Solomon reminds us that sometimes our friends say things that we don’t want to hear. Let me tell you, I just wanted my friends to commiserate with me, to tell me that I was doing a good job and it was those other people that were ruining things, not me. Instead they told me the truth. While it stung for a moment, the truth was what I needed. My true friends walked me from a lie to the truth.
As I reflect on this now I wonder if you have friends who will tell you what you need to hear, not just what you want to hear. More importantly, what kind of friend are you? It’s really easy to be a friend who only makes people feel good about themselves. It takes commitment and bravery to be the friend who tells people the truth knowing that in the long run that is what is needed for their spiritual growth.
God met me in the truth that my friends told me. Has that ever happened to you?