A Good Friend

A good friend should love at all times. A brother is born for help in times of adversity.
— Proverbs 17:17

My oldest son has a tendency to slip into a somewhat-defiant mood whenever he’s overly tired.

Though only 6, he is able to identify and agree when this is happening.

So we made a deal: we came up with a secret word that would pull him out of the defiance he could feel himself slipping into in the heat of the moment. If Dad could see that he and I were headed towards a standoff, my job is simply to say the word and he will snap out of it.

So what word did he choose?

“Boo-Boo-Butt.”

This often makes for a comical scene, but none more comical than when we were at Disney World. Imagine your most intense moment of sheer frustration and stress with a defiant 6 year old, at your wit’s end, helpless against his tiredness and resultant obstinance and poor behavior.

And, in front of about a million other parents, having to gather all the composure you can muster, summoning all of the willpower, restraint, and self-control you can from somewhere deep within, looking your boy in the eye, and with full authority state, in boldness and absolute seriousness, with clenched jaw and grinding teeth:

Boo-Boo-Butt.

I think parenthood keeps us all from taking ourselves a bit too seriously.

Though laughable, this story illustrates a deep truth shared by Solomon in Proverbs 17. We need people in our lives who we trust and love, who are charged with the responsibility of calling us out on our bad behavior. Because we can be blind to it. And in our journey towards sanctification, our roughest edges need to be shaved off bit by bit with the help of others.

Sometimes this hurts. It requires deliberate pursuit and attentiveness –and a brother who we trust who can tell it to us like it is.

Do you have that in your life?

Christianity was not meant to be lived alone. It’s a team sport. And on our road to salvation, in the words of Bono, “we get to carry each other.”

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