On speaking the truth in love:
Above all, what we need form our friends is the application of the gospel to our lives. The ministry of God’s word is not limited to those with public responsibility for preaching and teaching on our churches, but is shared by all of us… As we seek to be helpful to our friends, we need to ask how can we bring the gospel to bear on their lives. The answer is unlikely to be complicated and they should probably have been able to work it out for themselves, but they still need others to help them to hear, believe and apply it; we all do.
It is very rare that I require experts in psychology or pastoral counselling to work out what I need to hear. More often than not, I just need friends who will point me to what I already know well, but find hard to truly accept and live by. That will mean frequent reminders of the amazing grace of God revealed in the gospel of Christ. That wonderful message always brings me hope, no matter how dire my circumstances or how deep my sin. I am a much-loved child of God, completely accepted by him and able to call him my Father because of Christ’s death for me. I have received the Holy Spirit and am a new person with a new power within, so I do not have to be trapped by destructive patterns of thinking or behaviour. As friends walk together through life, ‘speaking the truth in love’, they can expect real and lasting change as they ‘grow up into him who is the head, that is Christ’ (Ephesians 4:15).
On desiring to change as we hear the truth spoken:
There is a certain ‘niceness’ to a friendship where I can be, as they say, myself. But what I really need is relationships where I am encouraged to become better than myself. Myself needs to grow a little each day. I don’t want to be the myself I was yesterday. I want to be the myself that is developing each day to be more of a Christlike person.
Excerpts taken from True Friendship by Vaughan Roberts, pages 61 & 62-63 respectively.