TRUE FRIENDS CONFRONT SIN by Adriel Sanchez for Core Christianity
I used to know a dear brother who frequently made poor clothing choices. Too old to wear jeans with rind stones on the back pockets (I think they’re a poor choice regardless of age), but unaware of his fashion faux pa, he didn’t think twice. We all – his friends – knew he had a problem. We talked about it amongst ourselves, “What was up with those jeans?” and “Man, someone should help that guy out!” But we never got around to addressing the issue with him.
Years later, this friend got married to a beautiful woman. It turns out, the jeans weren’t as big of a problem as we thought. With marriage came a new wardrobe. The old rind stone jeans were retired, and now he was dressing pretty nicely. One day we were catching up, and he actually brought up the old jeans. “She [his wife] couldn’t believe I wore those things!” I laughed. Blushing, and completely honest, he asked, “Why didn’t anyone tell me I looked silly in those things?” Embarrassed, I shrugged as if I had been clueless.
Of course, how we dress usually isn’t that big of a deal. If our outfit doesn’t match, or our shirt is too big, who cares? But what about the stuff that really does matter? What about when you see a friend doing something that isn’t just embarrassing, but wrong? I remember being so grateful for someone in college who had the guts to confront me about behavior that wasn’t honoring to Jesus. At first his words stung, and I wanted to be defensive. After a while however I was taken aback by the fact that out of all my friends, he was the only one who said anything.
Better is open rebuke than hidden love. Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy. (Prov. 27:5)
Your friends won’t sit by and watch you engage in sinful behavior. Much less will they share in your indulgences. The person who does that isn’t your friend, but an enemy of your soul. Perhaps it’s the fear of not wanting to be the person who rains on someone else’s parade, or maybe it’s a mutual pact (often made without words) that we’ll just give a pass to one another’s transgressions. Whatever it is, it’s deadly. God calls you as his child to care more about the soul of your brother than you do his comfort. You can kiss your “friends” to death by overlooking their sin, and it will only be to your shame, and their destruction. We have to take the command in Hebrews 3 to heart, “exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.” (v. 14)