Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.
Often times we think that to love someone means we must fully embrace them as they are －the good, the bad, all of it.
We live in a time where challenging someone’s way of doing things is seen as harsh and even hateful. But, what if it isn’t always? What if sometimes the most loving thing we could do for a close friend is to challenge them in an area where they fall short, or hurt people? While we shouldn’t go at relationships with a sledgehammer of change, there is sometimes the need for a scalpel. In the same way that a surgeon must remove a tumor to keep it from growing and causing harm, we need to be committed to confronting head-on the difficulties we have with our closest friends. Authentic, deep relationships often call for hard-to-hear truths spoken with humble sensitivity. When we do this, our relationships can actually grow and flourish in ways they could not when those truths are left unsaid or brushed over.
So, what’s the challenge? The challenge for you personally (and for me!) is to take your deepest relationships deeper. I’m not advocating this for all of your acquaintances! But, in those safe, central relationships, you need to create a space for honest heart to heart conversations. Give your friends permission to lovingly bring you the hard truth about yourself. And, ask for permission to humbly and sensitively do the same. It will challenge and grow not just your relationship, but your self. We can never see our own selves objectively. But, when we give our closest people permission to lovingly reveal to us our true selves, we can change and grow in health and love.