The desirable hard truth
We were a few weeks into having our foster care license and we were doing hard and holy things. I was beyond tired from the cast of children who had been in and out of our home, but still I had a small feeling of pride for the work I was doing for the name of Jesus.
As I picked up my phone and opened the notification of a new email, her words caught in my throat. A decades-old friend had sent an email with suggestions and ideas about how my portrayal of foster care had potential for harm. How dare this old friend cast a stone at me for opening my home to children in a way she did not feel was acceptable? How dare she feel a right to cast judgement when I was the one exhausted beyond measure? She did not know it, but her words had exposed something ugly inside of me. Often times when sin is unseen, just the exposure can make us recoil in anger.
In my self-righteous anger, I lashed out, then I cut her out. I was pouring out my strength, opening my home, and sacrificing my time - in Jesus name - and I was tired. How dare she feel a right to judge?
That email was sent six years ago and it took three years before my heart had softened enough to see how much truth lay in the words of her email. As a friend, she was trying to give direction, to help me from causing more pain to those I was caring for, to help me understand it wasn’t about me. My pride had clouded my ability to see my friends’ desire to point me to truth and instead, I cut out the truth teller.
As the truth of my friends’ words were exposed in my heart, I remember desiring more friendships that were willing to cast light into the dark places of my heart. Many times, my eyes cannot see where darkness lurks in my own self and I need someone else to step in with the tools to cast light. But it is painful, vulnerable, and takes a willingness to allow someone else in. It didn’t have to take me three years to see where darkness lurked, but God in His great mercy only peels back the layers one at a time so we can handle it. He met me where I was and it took three years for me to begin to understand my own self-righteousness. It also took a friend willing to cast light with the risk of losing the friendship.
Do you want that kind of friend in your life? Do you want someone who is willing to turn on the light and risk your recoiling anger because they desire to see your whole health instead of your temporary stroked pride? Before any of us can move forward in that kind of friendship we have to be willing to say yes, I want that kind of friend.