John and I had met at church and began spending time together. Through time and proximity, we began to build the foundation of a lasting relationship.
We had planned to meet up for lunch one day and everything was going as usual. Our conversation bounced around from family, to work, to sports, etc. The food came and we began to eat. During our meal and conversation, John stopped and paused. I looked across the table and I could tell something was wrong, but I didn’t know what it was from our conversation. So, I leaned closer to the table and asked, “Hey man, what’s wrong? What’s going on?” He looked back at me and quickly snapped a “nothing, everything’s good” response. I knew him though. This wasn’t a “nothing” issue and it was really affecting him. I looked back across the table and raised my eyebrows to tell him “That response isn’t going to cut it”. He finally spilled the beans. What once was an uncertainty that he was going to share at all was met with a relief of unloading what was on his chest.
He began to share with me about the argument that he and his wife had the night before. The little argument had turned into a major one. Each new line of the story now turned in to a barrage of complaints, explanations, and arguing his case.
When he finished, I looked across the table. I knew in my heart that I had a choice in that moment to stay silent, agree with him, or speak truth to him. The debate began within. If I stay silent then that would be seen as agreement with everything he was saying. If I agreed with him verbally then I would be taking sides and joining him in something I knew wasn’t right, speaking ill of his wife. The third path was the hardest, but I knew it was right. I had the choice to share what God’s word says about how we are to treat our wives. I felt like the debate lasted for eternity. I knew the right thing to do was to point John back to truth. I was just worried that he would get upset with me and it would hurt our relationship.
The moment of truth arrived. I looked back up at John and asked him if I could share something with him. He said, “of course, anything”. I said, “John, do you know what Ephesians 5 says about how we are to love our wives?”. He said back to me “No, tell me.”. I began to talk about how Ephesians 5 tell us to love our wives as Christ loved the church. I watched as my friend began to hang his head in defeat. He knew his attitude didn’t line up with what God’s word said and I didn’t have to explain it anymore to him.
I didn’t just want to leave my friends head hanging in shame and defeat. So, I looked at him and said, “John, we can work on this. We can plan to start today in this situation.” His head that was hanging, began to raise with a glimmer of hope on it.
The rest of the breakfast we spoke about what it meant for Christ to love the church and ways that he could show those same characteristics to his wife that day. We prayed together at the end of our time together and we parted ways.
A couple of days later, I got a phone call from John. He was ecstatic. He said, “Dude! I have something exciting to tell you.” I said, “Oh ya? What’s up?” He said, “Remember all of the plans we made about how to treat my wife?” I said, “Yeah, of course. What happened?” He said, “It totally worked!” We celebrated together for a moment before we both had to go but the evidence was clear. Speaking God’s truth to my friend was tough because originally, I didn’t want to hurt my relationship, but the proof showed that it only made our relationship stronger. Sometimes speaking truth can be the hardest thing in love, yet build the strongest of foundations for living in a healthy relationship.
This post originally appeared at: Real Conversations | Relational Discipleship Network (rdn1.com)