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Confrontation can be key in shaping us
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I had a wonderful conversation with an old friend this week.

We had not spoken in 20 years. Gary is a very unique individual. The first time I met him was to interview him to become the music minister in the church I was serving as pastor. It was only a part-time position. His full-time job was as an attorney.

Gary was great at both jobs, and we worked well together. But I have to admit that I was taken aback by a question he asked me at one of our morning breakfast meetings. Bluntly and out of the blue he asked, “Do you and Tina like children?” When I said that we did, he got even more personal. “Then why don’t you have any?”

I have to tell you that I was hurt and offended. How dare he ask that! We had been trying, unsuccessfully, to have a child for more than three years. When I told him that he glibly said, “You know, there’s more than one way to have a child.” And then he explained that all four of his children were adopted. I had no idea. After all, in my mind they “didn’t look adopted,” whatever that means.

To make a long story short, Gary assisted us in adopting our oldest son. Our total legal costs came to $75.

The reason I called Gary was to tell him about James. I found his work phone number and thought to myself, “I really need to catch him up on what has happened in our family.”

I’m so glad I did. He said he takes an annual vacation to Tybee, and next time through he and his wife are going to stop by. I can’t wait.

Why am I writing this for people I don’t even know? Well, there are some lessons to be found in this incident.

First of all, if you have a friend you haven’t heard from in forever, pick up the phone and call. Don’t wait on them. You do it.

Are you willing to ask hard questions to a friend? Gary took a major risk in asking those questions. I was angry at first. I thought he was out of line. But you see, he had my best interests in mind. He wanted to help, and I’m so glad that he did. His questions literally changed the life of my family. And I will forever be grateful.

The Bible says that iron sharpens iron. That phrase means that good friends sometimes help each other by getting personal and to the point. Is there a friend you need to confront? Or would you allow a friend to confront you? We do not grow when there is no friction or resistance. We grow in the face of difficulties. Let the Lord shape you this year with his love and his discipline.

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