Fat Horses and Godly Friends

Description

If the choice is between being afraid to offend or doing what’s loving (even though it’s sometimes hard), our best choice is to love our friends the way Jesus tells us.

“Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted.” Galatians 6:1 (NIV)

About six months ago, I had to face what I knew to be true: My horses were “too fat.”

I knew this, and I cared, but I still wasn’t willing to do anything to remedy the problem.

But after my brave veterinarian became involved and told me the truth about what I already knew, it was time for change, and we implemented a diet plan for them.

Why my “brave” veterinarian? Because he later told a friend of mine he had previously been escorted off other farms for uttering the “fat” truth to other horse owners. My veterinarian’s care and concern for my horse’s well-being overrode the risk of offending me (and possibly losing me as a client). He did the right thing by telling me I was wrong.

Obesity in horses brings on painful health problems and eventually, death. His loving honesty was motivation enough for me to face what I knew was wrong and make a positive change in the way I was feeding my equine friends. I am now a better horse owner because of it.  

It’s with the same care and loving concern that we who know Christ should confront sin in our own lives and in the lives of our close friends. If the choice is between being afraid to offend or doing what’s loving (even though it’s sometimes hard), our best choice is to love our friends the way Jesus tells us. That means seeking the best for a person while asking nothing in return, loving them no matter what it may cost.

In John 13:34-35, Jesus puts it this way, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (NIV).

I’ll be honest here when I tell you, there have been times in my life when my sin is staring back at me in the mirror, like a pasture full of chubby horses. I know I need to get my heart right, and although God is standing by to change it, I choose not to talk to Him about it. Because you know what? I am right! And I am justified to have these feelings! 

Not really. The truth is, I am often wrong. My attitude stinks, and I need a good Christian friend to call me on it. 

Today’s key verse, Galatians 6:1, makes this clear: “Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted.”

As a Christ-follower, having godly friends to help us steer away from sin is crucial. True Christian friends view each other’s holiness as important. We should welcome a friend in the faith who is willing to gently reveal when we need an attitude adjustment and a spiritual sharpening.

In return, let’s be loving enough to do the same for our friends. There is something uniquely special about a Christian friendship. It’s a soul-to-soul connection that lasts for eternity.

Thank You, God, for continuing to sharpen me. Thank You for Your gift of friendship, and my good Christian friends who challenge me to love others better. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Proverbs 27:17, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” (NIV)

Proverbs 27:5-6a, “Better is open rebuke than hidden love. Wounds from a friend can be trusted.” (NIV)

RELATED RESOURCES:
Horses nuzzle their way into our hearts and have a way of teaching us a lot about ourselves, about life, and even about God. Just ask horse enthusiast Cara Whitney, wife of comedian and actor Dan Whitney (aka Larry the Cable Guy). In her debut devotional, Unbridled Faith, Cara shares the countless spiritual lessons she’s learned from the horses on her farm.

CONNECT:
How would you like to WIN a copy of Unbridled Faith by Cara Whitney? To celebrate this new release, Thomas Nelson is giving away 5 copies of this book! Enter to win by leaving a comment here. {We’ll randomly select 5 winners and notify winners in the comments section by Monday, September 10.}

REFLECT AND RESPOND:
Thank a friend today who has spoken truth in love to you by sending them a quick note or text.

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