A true friend always speaks the truth in love. Friends have such an amazing impact on me because of my natural desire to be accepted. Everyone wants to fit in somewhere. The kind of home life a person grew up in determines the intensity of their need to fit in with others. If our home life was insecure, we may feel the need to fit in far more than someone who grew up in a secure environment. And our relationship with our dads greatly affects our need for acceptance; the more insecure the relationship, the greater lengths we will go to be accepted.
Acceptance plays a significant role in friendships. However, acceptance is not a sufficient reason for choosing friends; God’s criteria for friends goes beyond acceptance. God knows you need friends who will love you, not merely accept you. A real friend will accept you the way you are but will love you too much to leave you that way. A true friend always speaks the truth in love.
I will speak the truth in love when a friend is sinking into destructive behavior. I will not sit by and tell myself it is none of my business; I will intervene in his best interest. I will be the kind of friend who cares enough to do what is best for my friends. I will model my friendship after God’s love: God accepts us just as we are, yet He continually works to conform us to His image. This is love, and He is the standard I choose to model as a pattern for my behavior.
A true friend always speaks the truth in love. In love I will take a stand when my friends are making unwise decisions. It is not that I am presumptuous and interfering, rather I am acting as a loving friend. I will also seek friends who warn me when I am about to do something that will cause me harm. This is called tough love. A friend who loves will be more concerned about what is best for me rather than just being accepted by me. Because of love, real friends will sacrifice acceptance to do what is right. A real friend’s number one concern is not the relationship, it is the person. A true friend always speaks the truth in love.