Proverbs 27.6 – Wounds from a sincere friend are better than many kisses from an enemy.
Have you ever had to say something hard to a student, a parent, a colleague? You know what I mean – the kind of call-out that you lay awake at night pondering – assessing what it might do to your friendship, wondering if someone else ought to be the message-bearer, sensing the rise of anxiety as you run through every possible disastrous scenario in your mind…
This week, I’m spending some time at the Simply Youth Ministry Conference in Indianapolis. On of the reasons I love it so much is that some of my closest friends and allies are here in this place. They are people who are unafraid to speak truth in my life, even if it’s uncomfortable. And they have earned the right to do it. And they do it with love.
The passage says ‘Wounds from a sincere friend’ – and sincerity takes some time. It involves building relationship and community. It involves earning the right to be heard. It involves being a lover, even when families or co-workers decide not to heed your message or could care less that you gave it.
Remember, as you’re guiding students, their families, your staff and volunteers — even as you invest in your friendships: You earn the right to say difficult truths. You don’t get that seat automatically just because of your position or prowess. Build into the lives of the people you serve – and when they’re best served with a difficult or deeply honest truth, you’ll be in a position to serve it to them on a silver platter.