Support and encouragement are crucial for friendship, of course. But by themselves, they aren’t enough—not even close. True friendship requires more. The kind of friendship God intends requires that we look deeper, that we try to see things only friends can see. And it requires that we tell the truth (Ephesians 4:15). So, when friends are stuck or struggling with denial or passivity or sin, true friendship requires that we face awkwardness or embarrassment or fear of rejection head-on, and that we name problems honestly (though gently, too) and make every attempt to challenge and push, rescue and restore (Galatians 6:1-2; 1 Thessalonians 5:14). True friendship requires that we go “all in.” It requires that we be willing to initiate tough conversations, when tough conversations are needed.
The inverse, of course, is that we need friendship like that too. To lead robust, upright lives, we too need friends who are willing to be honest. To lead robust, upright lives, we too need friends who, like God, love us too much to let us to get stuck or struggle on our own. To lead robust, upright lives, we too need friends who are “all in” and willing to initiate tough conversations. We must be intentional about surrounding ourselves with such men . . . and, as hard as it might be, we must be willing to learn how to hear honest feedback without indignation, defensiveness, or counterattack.
Have you explicitly empowered any man, or group of men, to search you and know you? Have you let any man, or group of men, know your entire story and explicitly empowered him, or them, to speak honestly into your life? If you haven’t, steel your courage and take that step. It’s one most men will never take.