Sunday, January 24, 2016

Truth With Love

My last week was filled with adventure.  Many of the elements of that adventure-filled time included: travel, fellowship with other Christian women, time with a best friend, 2 overnights, a reunion with 2 favorite college students and a time of sharing Christ on 3 separate occasions and….lots of laughter.

In the past couple of years God has moved me into a speaking ministry.  Through a wonderful process, I became an “official” speaker for the worldwide “Stonecroft Ministry”, which means I drive to various events to present my testimony to other women. 

I have a dear friend who asked if I would like company on my trips and that sounded wonderful to me.  Michelle accompanied me to a speaking engagement mid Dec. of 2015, and through conversation with the chair of that group, we discovered she could be a part of my speaking ministry with her music.  We worked out some details which resulted in a ministry partnership that now includes her music embedded into the body of my talk.

This past week we set out for Wisconsin together; my car was loaded to the gills with her guitar and music equipment, our luggage and her son’s snowboard (we planned to stop and see him at his school on our way home).  We were the Christian version of “Thelma and Louise” (no crime, just a sharing of Jesus!).

Many miles of driving gives opportunity for in-depth conversation.  And since we were planning to develop this traveling partnership, it seemed a good idea to work at keeping things open and honest.  I asked Michelle if there was anything I did that made her uncomfortable or if there was anything I could do to make our  time together better. 

When I glanced at her I could tell she was in “thinking mode” and she hesitated; but…bless her!  Michelle lovingly and truthfully shared that I had a driving habit that was causing her some discomfort.  Wow!  I really had no idea what that could be as I always thought I was a pretty careful driver.

Anyone who knows me knows I can hardly speak without my hands being in motion.  If my hands were missing I would probably be mute! But I had no idea I used them when I drove and talked.  Apparently I take both hands off the wheel, very momentarily, but “off” none-the-less, when I am talking!  Really??!!!  Yikes!  Once she called my attention to it, I couldn’t believe how many times I came close to doing it…again and again.  What a wonderful friend…she may have saved me/us from a potential accident!

 She admitted she was a bit nervous about sharing that with me but once I reassured her I was thankful for her observation, it opened the door for more conversation.  After that discovery, she opened the door for me to walk into her life.  I laughed when I shared with her that she had an ongoing grammatical error.  Of course, she wanted to know what it was.  (She insisted I include this in this blog post even though I think it is so inconsequential.) 

I proceeded to be specific, feeling rather silly about the whole thing.  We laughed so hard but once she was “enlightened” she continued to pay attention to that grammar issue.  Truth with love. I reminded Michelle over and over that her grammatical error doesn’t have implications for our safety in the way my driving issues do! 

 Michelle is a true Christian friend because I can trust her to tell me what I need to hear….and she does it with a heart of love. Isn’t that exactly what the Bible tells us to do?  Many of the scriptures in the Book of Proverbs urge us to be truthful with each other. 

Proverbs 9 warns us about trying to correct a “mocker” BUT verses 8 & 9 say, “Rebuke a wise man and he will love you. Instruct a wise man and he will be wiser still; teach a righteous man and he will add to his learning.”  I believe Michelle’s loving truth statement to me, “added to my learning”.

I Corinthians 13: 6 says, “Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.”   I believe that “delighting” is both in the telling and the receiving.  When we offer truth with a heart of love (no irritation or attitude of retribution), we are giving one another a gift AND fulfilling God’s command.

It was not easy for Michelle to offer truth but there was a safety issue involved.  Plus, I had overtly invited her to speak truth into my life.  I deeply desire to live my life in such a way that honors God and brings love and peace to my relationships (as much as it is up to me).  Michelle and I are well into a friendship that includes love with truth. So….bring on those road trips.  I am excited to see what God has planned.

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