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May I Have Permission To Hurt You?
Ever been in a conversation where you’re talking away and it’s going great, but in the flow of the conversation you sense a growing concern? Deep down you have a sneaky suspicion there’s more going on in the other person’s head than what’s coming out of their mouth. It’s not just a weird feeling. It’s full of irony. You’re uncomfortable because you know they are!
Whenever that happens you’re faced with a choice. Do you stop the conversation and ask, “Hey, is there something you want to tell me? Or simply keep on talking and hope “it” passes?
You begin to weigh your options. Stopping the conversation and bringing it up yourself could win you points for sensitivity or being insightful. That’s a win. Intuitively you know that’s exactly where you should go. There’s only one problem. You’re also aware that the stuff on their mind is stuff about you. The other side is…
Times Up. Before you can make the decision, the other person breaks the ice with a simple question. “Can I say something?” Your thoughts kind of lock up because you’ve been talking for a half-hour and now all of a sudden they want permission to speak? This can’t be good. But what do you say? “No, you can’t!” “In fact, shut up right now!” Nah… that won’t work either.
So you take a deep breath and say, “Sure, go ahead.” But before they say a word you hold onto one more thing, something that’s worked so many times with so many people. And if it holds true here, no matter what comes out, you’ll be fine.
THE LIE: “They’ll never hurt me, they’re my friend.”
I have a great doctor. The other day at my annual physical he touched this little bump on my abdomen we’ve been watching for a year and says without hesitation, “If this is any bigger six months from now, I’m going to cut it out.” He didn’t look at me, didn’t smile, didn’t even flinch. And you know what? I didn’t even question him. Why not? He’s also my friend.
“Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.”Proverbs 27:6
We live in a day where the word “friend” has diminished in meaning. One cool post, video or tweet could win you a hundred likes, fans, or friends in an hour. (The average Facebook user has 388 friends). That’s great if you could count on half of them but you and I know better so let’s adjust the plumb line and re-elevate the definition.
The word of God is emphatic that a few close friends are better than a host of acquaintances and in fact, stand in a class by themselves. What are the characteristics of a really good friend? There are several we could talk about but here are three that will thin the crowd quickly.
They show up.
Proximity helps but this is not about geography. They’re close enough to know what’s on your mind and heart. You never have to hunt them down. No matter where they are, they’re in your life.
They speak up.
Friends tell friends what they need to hear, not want to hear. And they do it in love.
They own up.
Friendship is a two-way street. A friend may be strong where you’re not, but they’re well away of their own flaws and want you in on that process.
Having trouble speaking into someone’s life? Here’s a tip.
Ask permission to do so. Once you have it, they just told you that you could say anything.
What if the person doesn’t want what I bring to their attention?
Maybe they didn’t WANT a friend after all.
What if I just can’t speak up?
Maybe you don’t want to BE a friend.