Friday, February 16, 2018

Friendship - Accountability or Criticism?

So, last week on my Tuesday Tea with Cryssie over on Facebook, I talked about how to be a good friend to somebody who has experienced pregnancy loss. Today, I thought I would write a blog on the importance of loving one another….flaws and all. Ephesians 4:32 teaches us to be kind one to another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, as God has forgiven us.

Friendship is hard. Much like marriage, it requires a selfless heart. It is difficult to maintain a long healthy friendship if one or both parties are selfish. I have been both the selfish friend and the selfless friend. Today, I want to touch on some ways that we can all work on being selfless friends.
First and foremost, we have to accept the other person. We are all flawed human beings and we all have room for growth. It is unrealistic to think that anybody in this world is perfect. That’s selfish of us. There is a reason why God tells us that we are to only worship Him. When we put expectations of perfection on other people, they will fail us. When they fail us, we all walk away feeling brokenhearted and disappointed. On that note, one might confuse helping a friend with criticizing a friend. Let’s face it, friendship should also have an element of accountability. We want friends in our lives who will encourage us to walk right with the Lord, and who is not afraid to love our spiritual walk more than fear of upsetting us.
So, how do we know when a friend just needs total acceptance or needs encouragement (accountability) to grow? I would encourage you to first and foremost, pray. Prayer is a must in any relationship. Allowing God to step in and guide the relationship will allow your friendship to grow in love and in peace. My advice to this topic would be that criticism would be a judgement about somebody’s personality or character trait. Holding somebody accountable for something is when we speak up to a friend who is doing something that defiles the word of God or themselves. These things are two totally different things, yet often we think they are the same thing. For example, complaining about how somebody talks, or how they do their makeup is criticizing that person, but setting a friend down to talk with her about getting drunk and sleeping around with several guys is holding her accountable. It is telling her that you love her and that she is precious and reminding her of who God says she is. Now, if you were to make fun of her or talk badly behind her back for her decisions, then that changes over to criticism and gossip. You never want to gossip.
Bottom Line, love your friends for who they are. If they are going down a road that takes them away from Jesus, help steer her back to Him, but don’t judge. Just love where she is. God loves us all where we are, and we should extend that same type of love.
If you find that a friend doesn’t want to change and is dragging you down with her, then pray about it and seek God’s answer on what to do with that relationship. He might need you to love her from a distance for a season, but that doesn’t mean you get the green light to put her down or start talking badly.
Next week, we’ll talk about keeping in contact with our friends. Friendships and community weren’t designed for us to be absent in them, they were designed for us to love, edify and help one another. We can’t do those things if we are an absentee friend. I’m preaching to myself when I say that being busy is not an excuse, being busy is a crutch and is incredibly selfish. We make time for what matters…but we’ll talk more about that next week.

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