Have you ever tried saying "Get behind me, Satan" to someone? A friend? Your spouse?
Why not? Jesus said it! Wouldn't it be godly to speak the words of Jesus to someone?
I think one of the reasons most of us don't resort to employing a "Get behind me, Satan" is that we know that one would have to be absolutely certain or absolutely stupid to drop that phrase on someone.
In Jesus' case, He was certain it was what needed to be said to Peter at that moment (Matthew 16.23). Though Jesus' words were extreme, they were what Peter needed to hear at that moment. (And, I'll add, Jesus, having the advantage of being God Himself had the right to speak something this strong with this kind of authority)
As most of you have heard Laura and I reference these last two Sundays of our Friendship series, we each need people in our lives that we hear hard but helpful, necessary, and life-giving truths from.
Proverbs 27.6 says that an enemy will multiply kisses, but wounds from a friend can be trusted.
In other words, an enemy will stab you in the back, but a close and truly loving friend will stab you in the front. This means that if you have truly close spiritual friendships in your life, you will need to hear and to speak difficult things in love.
This brings us to an important point: What we say and how we say it in these moments matters supremely.
What are some things to consider when you might need to stab a close spiritual friend in the front?
- Do I have permission? You may be close spiritual friends, but are you certain you have permission from them to speak the hard truth about them to them? If they haven't told you that you can, then you need to ask. It might sound like this: "Do I have permission to share something about you with you?" or, "When we notice something that may not be right in each other's lives, are we safe to point that out to each other in love?" This isn't about becoming nitpicky with each other. This is about caring about the big stuff in life, things like their walk with Jesus, their marriage, their parenting, their character, their emotional health, significant blind spots that hurt others or themselves, and sin.
- What/How should I say this? The results of extensive personality research/data suggest that the majority of people are comfortable being fairly frank and to the point with others, while inwardly preferring that others treat them with more consideration and gentleness. Simply put, if someone is frank with others it does not mean they will easily be receptive to frankness from others. So, when you need to stab a close spiritual friend in the front, it's probably worth asking (just to be sure), "Are you the kind of person that likes people to say it as it is to them, or to be gentle with them?" After hearing their response you'll have a better idea if you can just 'give them the headline' or if you will need to approach the matter with tenderness and good questions.
- Make it a matter of prayer. Pray about this before taking action. Then, after approaching the hard conversation with your friend, pray together.
We are convinced that every follower of Jesus in CPC needs DNA Relationships. Close spiritual friendships marked by intentionality and rhythm and that share in Discipleship, Nurturing (care), and Accountability (DNA).
Let's keep growing toward this together!