Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13
It’s nice to have friends. It is a blessing to have friends that hold you accountable. It is a true gift from God to have even just one friend who you can count on to always be honest with you – even if that honesty hurts.
I have a friend like that – I’ve known her since I was about seven years old. We shared all our childhood experiences, teenage angst and early adult drama. We shared clothes and chemistry notes and boyfriend heartaches. She was always the counter balance to my wildness – the one who kept me on an even keel. She is smart, no nonsense and has always – always been brutally honest with me. I learned a long time ago not to ask her if a pair of jeans made me look fat or a hairstyle was flattering….. unless I really, truly wanted the answer.
This friend had a way of keeping my tangents in line. When I got too far out there in left field she would reel me in with the truth. (I think my parents secretly liked her better than me!) When I crossed the boundaries she would let me know. She could cut to the heart of the matter with the precision of a surgeon.
To this day (27 years later) I remember my friend kneeling beside me as my oldest child lay on a hospital bed battling cancer. Clear as day I can hear her telling me I had to face the truth – that my little boy was most likely going to die – and I had better get my act together. My God! – how those words hurt! Brutal. Blunt. Factual. Honest. And then she simply opened her arms and held me as I cried. Best friend.
Jesus was so much more than a teacher – he was one of those friends to his disciples. He held them accountable for their actions – and he was brutally honest with them – even when the truth hurt. Over and over and over again, throughout the Gospels that recount Jesus’ life on earth we hear him speaking the hard, brutal, honest truth. I’m sure it was hard for the disciples to hear.
The truth has not changed in over 2,000 years – and it’s just s hard for us to hear today. Even though his words can sometimes cut us to the quick, we are so blessed to have Jesus to guide us…..to keep us on an even keel…..to let us know when we cross the boundaries and to open his arms of mercy and grace as we humbly submit to the truth of his word.
“No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.” John 15:15