Posted on September 21st, by Doug Ponder in God, Life. No Comments


Written by on September 21, 2014

Love Is Not Blank Check Affirmation

“Will you support me in this decision?” my friend asked me.

But I couldn’t support his decision. It wasn’t a problem of not wanting what’s best for him. In fact, it was because I wanted what’s best for him that I wasn’t able to go along with him. The decision would have only brought more problems, and my love for him didn’t want him to suffer needlessly.

Yet my reasons for disagreeing hardly mattered to him. What really mattered, it seemed, was that I as his friend would not “affirm him” and the course he was determined to follow. Though I explained why I couldn’t support him in his unwise decision, he was still deeply hurt.

My friend is far from alone in this regard. As a case in point, social media platforms are littered with quotes that express similar sentiments to his own:

“True friends accept you no matter what.”
“A true friend doesn’t care if you’re broke, if you’re acting like a [jerk], or if your life is a mess—they love you for who you are.”
“Be who you are—because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.”
“Be yourself and the right people will love you.”
“A friend is someone who listens and doesn’t judge.”
“Stop trying to fix your friends. Love accepts them for who they are.”
And my personal favorite: “A friend will help you hide. A good friend will help you hide the body!”

On the surface, these quotes may seem to contain a kernel of truth, but a little prodding reveals deep and disturbing problems in them all. Should we say that a true friend accepts us no matter what? Even if we are lying, murderous psychopaths? Is it true that a real friend doesn’t care if you’re broke, acting like a jerk, or in a self-made mess? Wouldn’t true friends be the ones who do care, precisely because they love you and want you to stop ruining your life? The same goes for all the “be who you are” type quotes. What if “who you are” is selfish and prideful (as the Scriptures say is true of us all)? Doesn’t a true friend want those parts of you to change?

French Kissing Your Enemies

Despite the obvious problems in each of those quotes, they are shared, liked, and repinned thousands of times each day on every social media platform. The Scriptures tell us what is going on here, and it isn’t pretty: “Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy” (Prov. 27:6).

In other words, we are locking lips with liars. We are French kissing our enemies while calling them friends, and often ignoring true friends who care enough to speak the truth in love.

Why do we do this?

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Doug Ponder is one of the founding pastors of Remnant Church in Richmond, VA, where he serves in many of the church’s teaching ministries. He has contributed to several published works and is the author of Rethink Marriage & Family. His interests include the intersection of theology, ethics, and the Christian life. Follow him on Twitter @dougponder.


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