Confrontation. Tough discussions. Cautions or warnings that can change a relationship in a moment.

Many of us are more comfortable with encouraging or cheering someone on. That usually feels good, no matter whether we are the giver or recipient of encouragement. It seems loving, and often it is.

Yet my mind sometimes drifts back to college, when most students were in the dormitory for the night. My friend slipped to my work desk in the dorm lobby. It was a quiet time when the two of us could meet with few if any interruptions.

That evening she gently shared her concern that I’d overcommitted my time and energy that semester. I’d said “yes” to a legitimate need, but one that would compromise my ability to fulfill other responsibilities that God had given. She reminded me that there were others equipped to meet the need, and I might be getting in the way of what God was doing. Oh, there was more, and yet what I remember most is that her admonishment was gently, lovingly shared in a context of desiring God’s best for me and for those I was willing to help.

My friend that evening loved me well, courageously and lovingly sharing a caution, a warning about a blind spot. There was no sense of judgment, but rather a simple request to consider the thought, and take it to the Lord in prayer. As I did so, I realized that I needed to responsibly request that another person have an opportunity to meet the need. Within a few days, the need was met.

God, Thank you for the friends who you’ve put in my life to both encourage me and to sometimes warn or confront me when I’m in danger of a misstep. Help me be a friend who courageously loves others, in both good and hard times. Help me know when to speak and when to keep silent. Above all, thank you for Jesus, who loves me and gave himself for me. Amen.

Throughout this day: What about you? Has a friend ever lovingly warned you about an action or attitude that you needed to reconsider? Perhaps you have a warning for someone dear to you, and you are to gently, lovingly approach them about it. Ask God for wisdom on the timing and the right words to say.

Tags: Proverbs 25 courage Love