I recently had a friend approach me about a situation in my life. She came to me and asked permission to share. I granted it. She was candid with what she said and didn't pull any punches. I listened. I really considered what she said. Ultimately, I disagreed with her overall assessment of the situation. HOWEVER, I appreciated the heck out of the fact that she took the risk to share it.
The whole thing got me to thinking about friendship and how valuable it is. I am blessed to have a few friends that I have pretty open and honest relationships with. They challenge me and cause me to grow. They don't just tell me what I want to hear, and that is something that you can't put a price tag on.
There's a verse in the Bible that says, "The wounds of a friend are faithful, but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful." It's true. So true. It's so easy to smile and say something you don't mean to avoid hurting someone's feelings. But, really who are you protecting? Not them...yourself. Being honest with another person is to risk being misunderstood and to risk the possibility that they might be angry at you. It is to be vulnerable. It is to say, "I love you....enough to tell you that I think you're wrong right now....and take the chance that you might not be too happy about it." It's hard, it's scary. But, it's worth it.
I'm trying to teach this quality to my kids. I encourage them not to engage in the relationship games kids play, but to have the courage to simply ask the questions they want answered or make the statements they want to make. Other kids their age don't always appreciate it (or know how to deal with it), but sometimes they are pleasantly surprised. Also, sometimes my kids play the games - they are kids after all. But, I'm sure that each one of them would tell you that the honest way is better.
Another epiphany that I had after the conversation is that I listened because I know she cares about me. You better believe that if someone who didn't have the standing in my life that she does had tried to address the topic we were discussing, I would have handily sized them down. I'm not saying that it would have been right for me to do so, I'm just saying I know myself, and I would have. ;) It reminds of something my husband always says,
"People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care."
2 great lessons for me in the past few days - I am one lucky lady. :)