There’s this notion in our generation that people who really love us will never cause us pain. In fact, in this day and age we are so ruthless in our friendships that if someone confronts us with unwanted truth, we block them on WhatsApp instantly, unfollow them on Twitter and we un-BAE them on Instagram without a care. And that is why our friendships and relationships have become so shallow, we behave as if people are disposable. We don’t understand or appreciate the bond (the intimacy, the depth, the unity) that is built when we are able to go through good and bad times with someone. We have no patience for the process of building lasting relationships. It is no wonder why this generation has no understanding of words such as loyalty, integrity and trust. We seem to think that the proof of love is pleasure. Nothing could be further from the truth.
In the last 12 months of my life, nobody has taught me more about the freedom found in love like my friend and confidant, Christopher. His kind of love is confrontational, he is the kind of person who is not afraid to ask people in his life tough questions (in a very calm and gentle way). And if you are his friend, you can always count on his brutal honesty- and he has a way of saying something offensive with a lot of grace.
I remember an incident that occurred last year when we were not seeing eye-to-eye about a decision I had made. Frustrated that he was not “getting me”, I rolled my eyes, and turned my body away from him. He sat next to me and softly said, “That’s not the way to behave. When you do that while I’m still making a point, I feel disrespected.”
When he confronted me about my behavior, I felt a wave of embarrassment wash over me but I understood that he was calling me to order because I had handled that situation poorly. In my heart, I repented immediately. Although I didn’t admit it at that moment, I knew he was right, his words stung and convicted me. But that day, I learnt how to love the people in my life better, even when we disagree. And I valued Christopher’s correction because I needed it. And those are the kind of people we should desire in our lives, people who will not allow us to be mediocre, people who won’t let us wreck our lives, people who care enough to get in our business and confront us about our attitudes. But you can only desire such depth if you can handle being corrected and are mature enough to handle criticism.
Here’s what I’ve discovered:
Love loves us the way we are but love won’t leave us unchanged.
It is amazing what petty things we allow to come between us. Just because someone disagrees with us, doesn’t mean they don’t care about us, we just have different opinions. Moreover, correction should communicate to us how much we are loved, if someone can call you out on your bad behavior, appreciate their honesty and be better because of it. In order to have depth in our relationships, we need to allow our loved ones room to tell us the truth, even of the truth stings. Real, authentic love calls for uncomfortable moments sometimes, and it is in those times that we learn that love demands a change of heart and attitude; love is too good to leave us the way we were.