Faith,  Heart,  Mind,  Soul

Who Are You?

As promised, here is the follow-up from last week’s “To Tell the Truth” post. Transparency is scary, and we fear people will run the other way if they know the real us. Some people will. Let them.

If a friend turns away from you because of a truth you share, they are not your friend. A true friend will love you and stick by you no matter how ugly your sin, no matter how much you struggle and mess up.

“There are ‘friends’ who destroy each other,
    but a real friend sticks closer than a brother.” Proverbs 18:24

This doesn’t mean a friend won’t correct you or tell you the truth in return. In fact, the opposite is true. A real friend won’t pretend or lie to make you feel better about yourself, and we all need that accountability, don’t we? I certainly do. And God’s Word supports this type of friendship.

An open rebuke is better than hidden love! Wounds from a sincere friend
    are better than many kisses from an enemy. Proverbs 27:5-6

It can hurt when a friend corrects us. The temptation to believe the lies of Satan that our friend doesn’t love us and wants to tear us down is real. A person you counted as a friend could be an enemy, but I believe that’s rare. I’d venture to guess you know your friends pretty well and can determine whether their correction is from a heart of love or not.

A friend’s honesty has wounded me in the past, but after time to think and pray on it, I came to realize what they’d said was true. I had needed to hear the truth and was grateful to be blessed with a friend who would tell me. Do you have a friend like that in your life? Is there anyone who will risk hurting you by telling you hard truth? If so, count yourself among the blessed.

One of the important keys to vulnerability is to carefully and wisely choose who we are transparent with. It’s not smart to shout our sins from the rooftops. Many people in the world, and the church, are not mature enough to handle our mess appropriately. They are incapable of keeping a confidence and can end up hurting us more than we were before revealing our secret.

This doesn’t mean you walk around pretending to be someone you’re not. It just means you don’t have to tell the nitty-gritty to everyone. You can still be honest without sharing details, and I encourage you to be as authentic as possible because we can impress people with our strengths, but we connect with them through our weaknesses.

So, how do you know who you can trust, who you should share the details with? My simple answer is, by spending time with people. When you hang out with a friend regularly, over time you see their character. Do they speak negatively about others? That could be a warning sign they will talk about you to someone else. Are they willing to be real and vulnerable with you? If not, maybe they can’t handle your truth either.

Sometimes we take a risk and share our heart, then end up betrayed. If that has happened to you, don’t let that experience hinder you from sharing your hurts again. We can never encounter the friendship and intimacy with one another God planned without vulnerability. Life is full of risks, so step out and take some. Risk being vulnerable. Risk to fully love and be loved. Forgive and start again. God created us for relationship and we need each other.

Pray and ask God who you can trust. Ask Him to send you a friend to share your heart and life with, a confidant who will accept and love you no matter the warts. There is a joy in sharing and being genuine with another person that comes no other way.

Join the conversation. Do you have a true friend you can be real with? If not, will you diligently pray and ask God to send you one? What other wisdom can you add to this post to encourage others who feel alone and hide behind a mask in fear of vulnerability? Let us know in the comments below.

As a Jesus girl for more than thirty years, Deena Adams understands how important hope is to daily life, which fuels her passion to inspire others through hope-filled fiction based on true to life stories. She is represented by Tamela Hancock Murray of the Steve Laube Agency and is a multi-award-winning writer, an active ACFW member, and ACFW Virginia president. Connect with Deena through her website, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.