it seems that the prevailing sentiment of our day is that friends are people who treat you nicely and who accept you just as you are. i guess that's half true. but oscar wilde once said, "a true friend stabs you in the front," and that's certainly been my experience. it doesn't always feel nice. but a real friend is the kind of person who is willing to tell you the truth.
i actually had that experience on our recent trip to toronto. good friends sat down with me and asked about my approach to certain problems, and it became clear that i needed to address certain personal issues. to be honest, i wasn't thrilled. it's not that they weren't nice; they were very kind. but who wants to discover that there's something wrong? these are not really new issues — stuff like how i handle anxiety, a tendency to be over-reactive, and a long running battle with perfectionism — but Lord has successfully put them back on the front burner.
i've got good friends, the kind who love you the way that you are, but are committed enough to you that they wouldn't want to leave you that way. it's a micro-picture of the kind of love that God has for us.