I hate my best friends, and you should hate yours too!
His name is Jeremy and it all happened about 13 years ago. I was finishing up my undergraduate degree and a bunch of us were hanging out off campus. The conversation changed, and we started pouring out our hearts. College was coming to an end and some of the guys were about to be married, myself included. The end of an era was coming up fast! At one point in the conversation Jeremy looked at me and said, “Mike, you don’t treat Leslie very well.” I felt like an angry cat about to pounce. Honestly, who says that?! He then had the gall to give specific examples! Every example just fed my fire. I couldn’t believe it! Somehow I played it cool the rest of the night. Over the next few days I was overly aware of how I treated my wife-to-be. I started to notice little things that I said and did that weren’t all that kind. Here is this beautiful, brilliant, young woman, and I realized I didn’t always treat her right.
I decided to do something most people refuse to do—I accepted his rebuke. He was right—I didn’t like it, but he was right.
I discovered something really powerful and yet painful. Real accountability is rough and it hurts!
People today run from friendships, a church, or family that puts the pressure on. I am not talking about abuse; I am talking about healthy conflict. You don’t want just “yes” friends; you want friends who will call you out when you are wrong! Les and Leslie Parrott, Christian marriage psychologists, insist “conflict is the only way to intimacy.”
Two questions I want you to wrestle with:
- Who in your life do you allow to push back? To challenge your decisions? Who would tell you, “That’s stupid, don’t do that!” Maybe in a gentler way, but you get the point.
- Who do you need to be honest with? If there is someone who you know needs to hear something, say it! Real friends push back, so speak the truth in love!
I also want to thank my incredible accountability group: Jeremy, Lance, James, David, and Aaron. You have saved my life and marriage numerous times because you were honest! I know you confront me because you love me. You make me so frustrated sometimes, and yet I would give my life for you! I thank God for friends like you. My best friends, that yes, sometimes I hate!
Proverbs 27:17, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.”