Where, then, is your blessing of me now? I can testify that, if you could have done so, you would have torn out your eyes and given them to me. Have I now become your enemy by telling you the truth? Galatians 4:15-16 (NIV).
Have you ever done something that was a bridge too far for a friend (or they you), something that put your friendship in danger? Paul wanted to know if he had; I know I have. At age 55, I’ve known hundreds, maybe thousands, of people personally. At 55, I’m not friendly with all of them. When I was a kid, I did some cruel things. As an adult, for some friends, things I did were too much to bear; too hurtful, too wrong. In some cases, I’ll never know why we drifted apart or when the break happened. In others, I know too well.
And in some instances, I made friends walk away by things I had said. I turned people off with things I said online, or opinions I shared. And I even turned people off by sharing my faith in Jesus. When I did that, some folks considered me to be a hypocrite; to be fair, based on who I was at the time, they may have had a point. The saddest part is that, in our old friendships, I would have done anything for them. Many felt the same about me. These are things Paul understood.
Know this: as it says in Hebrews, the Word of God “is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” When we love people, we need to be honest with them. Most times that love is gentle, but sometimes it isn’t. What matters is being on God’s side in all things. These days, when I find myself in a situation where what I say and do would cause conflict, I have to go to God in prayer. It’s bigger than me, and He tells us to be honest and firm, but also humble and considerate; to be kind, to forgive because we’re forgiven.
Jesus said that kindness in His name always brings reward. And He also said that, by believing in Him, we might very well lose relationships with family and friends. The best answer we can give when that happens is, “God bless.” In doing so, we ask God’s protection and blessing on those we love, and we are enabled to be kind. But we’re also empowered to let the relationship take its course. Sometimes that means a break. Or a boundary, even when it’s caused by the truth.
For further reading: Amos 5:10, Matthew 10:42, Hebrews 4:12, Galatians 4:17
Lord, bless those in my life, and those with whom I’m not friends anymore. Guard and guide them.
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