I love my friends—a lot. They mean the world to me. I also live in the tension of wanting my community to get along. It bothers me when someone hurts another person. It frustrates me when someone doesn’t like a church, group or another person—or me.
When we watch our friends move in a direction that isn’t healthy, we are faced with the decision to either let them “keep going” or have the hard conversations.
And when we do, the response can be something along these lines: “Who are you to judge me?”
A caring decision from a loving friend to have the conversation about this past weekend’s behavior now becomes an episode of Judge Judy. When we take a sincere moment, step out (nervously), and bring the truth in love— we fear the response, “Don’t judge me.”
Reality is, this isn’t judging— this is caring.
I’ve had to have these conversations before and when I do, it’s tough. When I have had these tough conversations with my friends or those I lead, my heart is to never to offend them or hurt them—that’s the last thing on my mind! But I do want to talk to them and help them because I love them and want the best for them. I care.
So how do you care and love your friends when it’s hard?
1. Have a forgiving attitude.
A forgiving attitude means forgiving and looking past the behaviors, issues, and actions that are warranting the conversation you’re having. Caring friends see what God sees— a future marked by healing, wholeness, and thriving.
2. Have a compassionate posture.
A caring person postures themselves with a humble yet confident voice to share the truth of God. A compassionate posture reflects sympathy for your misunderstood thoughts. They know, as a loving follower of Jesus and as a true friend— the words of Christ will always move you towards freedom more than a good-intentioned opinion ever will.
3. Walk in wisdom.
A judgmental person walks around as an expert, while a caring person desires to give you wisdom. Graciousness has the eyes to see beyond the crowds opinion and the wisdom to move you forward into your designed future that God has prepared for you. It’s knowledge of what is true and right with insight and sound judgement.
So let’s help those we lead move their thinking from a “stop judging me” mentality and instead to a “thanks for loving me” mentality. As you do, watch your future and friendships be stronger than ever before.