Recently, one of my best friends sent me a vague text stating that she was angry. During the course of the discussion, I realized that I disagreed with her take on the situation. Even more importantly, from a spiritual standpoint, I didn’t agree with how she was responding to the situation. As her friend, and a Christian, I decided to correct her. After all, isn’t that what we are told to do?
2 Timothy 4:2 Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.
I wasn’t mean, but I also didn’t beat around the bush. You see, this was a behavior that I had seen before. As I recognized this pattern, it was like a veil was lifted & I suddenly saw some situations from her past in a new perspective. Her response of anger was a pattern of behavior. It wasn’t healthy for her, or any one around her. I knew that I needed to say something. This correction, however, was not well received. I thought I had handled it well. I wasn’t mean or harsh, but I also didn’t beat around the bush either. Instead of appreciating my correction, what I got was the silent treatment. The deafening silence continued for days; leading me to try and clarify my point. I was also trying to fix her being upset with me. The more I tried to fix it, the worse things got. Then, my mind started getting the better of me.
Galatians 6:1 Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.
Satan had gotten a hold of my ear. Twisting the scenario around. Tainting my thoughts and opinions of her. To the point that I was even playing out scenarios in my head of what our next conversation was going to be like. Fortunately, despite everything going on in my head, my heart and my friendship… I was seeking God. I was digging into his word about friendships & accountability; and the more I read, the more my heart softened. I wasn’t letting Satan mess with my mind any more. I was reminded that I loved my friend. I wanted to open her eyes to something she may not have been recognizing in herself. I wanted to help her.
Proverbs 17:17 A friend always loves, and a brother is born to share trouble.
How do we correct our Christian sisters? First, I would recommend reading Matthew 18:15-17. I am grateful for the clarity in God’s word on the subject. We need to first speak with them, privately. Then if they don’t listen, we come with 2-3 others. If they still do not listen, you take it to your church leaders or body. Oddly enough, this was the easy part.
Second, there were some important things I realized (in retrospect) that would have helped. Hopefully my sharing them will be beneficial should you find yourself in this situation.
1. She admitted she was already angry. This was definitely not the right time, her emotions were on high alert. She was not going to be able to hear me.
She was on the defensive. Poor timing.
2. Say it, then zip it. If you do speak to your friend… say what you have to say, then zip your lips. Your friend may need time to process what you say to her.
And what may not even seem like a big deal to you, may be a big deal to her. Stop trying to make your point, or smooth things over. Give her space.
3. Wait. Pray. Speak, only if led to. Unless what your friend is about to do is going to cause immediate harm to her or others, wait to speak. When we wait, we
then have time to reference scripture and pray. Ask God if you should say something, how you should say it and when.Let God lead your correction. God
may end up leading you to keep your mouth shut altogether or just for the time being.