I saw this post on my facebook feed yesterday and my heart just broke for the egotism and immaturity expressed therein:
“A true friend doesn’t care when you’re broke, being a bitch, what you weigh, if your house is a mess, what you drive, about your past, or if your family is filled with crazy people. They love you for who you are.”
Yes, a true friend accepts you, and they will not be found or won based on how nice of a car you drive. Blanket acceptance and tolerance is what we preach and value in the United States today: you do you, I’ll do me, we’ll live in perfect harmony…as long as you don’t tell me I am wrong or offend me in anything that I do, and as long as you function within the laws of the land. Well, the important laws anyway.
Oh Christian, this is a lie from Hell. Accountability is one of the greatest gifts that God has given us. “A friend loves at all times” (Prov 17.17), but love is not blanket acceptance, irregardless of sin. Love is pushing one another on to holiness and good deeds (Heb 10.24). Love is helping one another to know and honor God better every day, not to settle into sinful tendencies and enable one another to backslide.
I have a good friend whom I have known for 6 years now. She is not an accountability partner, but she is a friend. A true friend. I was going through a struggle about a year ago, in which I had been grievously sinned against. A third party became innocently (and possibly unknowingly) involved and my emotional reaction towards the third party was terrible. This friend, in whom I was confiding, called me out in love. She said, “Alison, you need to check your heart” and straight up denied some of the statements that I had made in my frustration and hurt. She caught it at the very moment it entered my heart and came out of my mouth, and because she stopped me in my tracks so quickly, truthfully and kindly, the sin of bitterness had no opportunity to take root in my heart. Solomon advises in Ecc 8.11 that it is best to address sin at the moment of conception: the longer it is left unchecked, the easier it is to get rooted in someone’s heart and mind:
“Because the sentence against an evil deed is not executed quickly, therefore the hearts of the sons of men among them are given fully to do evil.”
A true friend does care how you are acting, about your past, about habits and tendencies that easily entangle you – and helps you to navigate victory over these things through the power of the Holy Spirit. A bad friend is one who enables you to “just be you” and let your sinful side reign. We have seen enough Intervention shows, and had enough exposure to rehab stories that we know the difference between an enabler and a coach or sponsor. When we want to continue to live in our sin, we consider enablers friends. But it is no secret that those who truly love and those with whom we bond the most are our sponsors.
God disciplines those whom he loves (Heb 12.5-6). And he gives us families to discipline and train us as we are growing:
“A fool rejects his father’s discipline, but he who regards reproof is sensible.”
– Prov 15.5
He gives us community to push us on to holiness and good deeds. The Bible calls the person who does not listen to sound advice or to someone who would hold him accountable a fool. A fool! And he who neglects discipline despises himself.
“A scoffer does not love one who reproves him, he will not go to the wise.”
– Prov 15.12
“He whose ear listens to the life-giving reproof will dwell among the wise. He who neglects discipline despises himself, but He who listens to reproof acquires understanding. The fear of the Lord is the instruction for wisdom, and before honor comes humility.”
– Prov 15.31-33
Let’s not buy the lies. God wants you to be happy and friends do love at all times. But true friends love through the trials to see success on the other side. They help conquer sin, they help fight temptation, they help care for temporal issues. Be a friend.