By DEBRA WHITE SMITH
— QUESTION: My best friend's boyfriend is a cheater. He made a pass at me months ago, but I was afraid to tell my friend. However, when I saw him out with another girl, I couldn't stand it anymore. I took a picture of them together with my phone and drove straight to my friend's house and told her everything. She talked to her boyfriend, and he convinced her I was lying about his making a pass at me and about the girl he was with. He's saying it was his cousin, but I saw them acting romantic. Now, my best friend has accused me of lying, and our friendship is over. I thought I was doing the right thing by being honest, but now I'm confused and hurt.
ANSWER: Honesty in relationships will do one of two things: it will strengthen the relationship or end it. When both parties are committed to honesty, then stating truth only makes the relationship stronger — especially if the truth sheds light on new growth that is needed. However, if one party in a relationship is committed to truth and the other is not, then being wholly honest can actually end a relationship. However, as Christians we are called to honesty. You did the right thing in telling your friend the truth. Withholding facts about her philandering boyfriend would only continue to enable his sins. As Christians, we should speak the truth in love and use wisdom in stating truth, but none of that means we should avoid truth to appease sinful behavior.
These are some of the issues Christ was referencing when he said, “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law….” (Matthew 10-34-35). In other words, when people commit to Christ, they commit to truth. When we commit to truth and others in our lives don't, then there is a problem.
In refusing to accept truth, your friend is manifesting a common problem with people who are in a relationship with someone who is taking advantage of them. Usually, people like your friend are so needy, they will not accept the truth-even if it's in a photo. Excusing bad behavior usually accompanies this denial. Your friend is trapped and needs someone to pray for her.
I recommend that you be that someone! Diligently pray for your friend. Ask the Lord to orchestrate a situation that will force her to accept the truth. When that happens, be there for her to help her deal with the pain from this dysfunctional relationship.
But even if she never comes back to you as a friend, take heart in knowing that you have done the right thing. Being a Christian, wholly committed to truth, is a gutsy lifestyle. I commend you for being brave enough to wholly follow scriptural precepts.
The author of 54 books, Debra White Smith holds an M.A. from U.T. and is the featured relationship specialist on the Fox News Radio Show, “Plain Jane Wisdom.” She and her husband, Daniel, co-pastor Palestine Church of the Nazarene. For more information, visit www.debrawhitesmith.com. Got a problem? E-mail Debra at firstname.lastname@example.org