The duty to confront your friends

You’ve probably read about the recent resignation of David Petraeus as Director of the CIA. While we could chalk this up to another episode of “be sure your sins will find you out” and explore the features of his downfall from squeaky clean (by appearance) to cheater, there is another angle you might consider. In the Sunday Philadelphia Inquirer, the paper included a sidebar to the story telling of several colleagues and friends who recognized a problem long before it came out. They saw some things that didn’t look right, that didn’t fit with his character. They saw him being too chummy and spending too much time with “the other woman.”

The big question: did they bother to confront him? The story doesn’t tell us this, but it surely is the question we ought to be asking, not only of them, but also of ourselves. When we see friends acting in ways that appear out of line, do we love them enough to tell them so? Do we love them enough to risk losing the relationship should they become angry with us? I, for one, have been guilty of not saying something when I saw a friend spending more time with a colleague than is wise. I have no idea if my friend engaged in inappropriate behavior. But even when someone doesn’t engage in sexual activity with someone other than their spouse, this does not mean the person isn’t putting their life, their marriage, their soul in grave danger. Emotional affairs have torn apart marriages just as physical affairs do.

We have a duty to not let our fear of man get in the way when we see things that signal to us a problem. We don’t need to become accusatory, but a few loving questions (and more than just one!) are in order.


Filed under adultery, Relationships

2 responses to “The duty to confront your friends

  1. D. Stevenson

    Other thoughts –
    “Squeaky clean” is no guarantee. Think of Hezekiah.
    Related to that is:
    1. Stay alert – I have no reason to believe I am immune.
    2. Compassion for the one who ‘fell from grace’. After all, it could be me.
    3. His ‘bad’ doesn’t negate the concurrent ‘good’, but,
    4. His ‘bad’ permanently stains and alters his past, present, and future. (although there is redemption and restoring the years the locusts have eaten – God doesn’t usually undo the natural consequences of the deed)
    In other words –
    (in judging myself) Every man and woman is susceptible. Even godly men and women. Even after a lifetime of exemplary service. Faithful to the end is not a given. I must be ever mindful.
    (in judging others) Every man and woman is susceptible. Even godly men and women. I do them a disservice, and I put myself in danger when I don’t remember that.

  2. Great posts! It’s not an easy thing to do, but yes, I have confronted friends, quite a bit over the years actually. For some reason these confrontations have decreased as I’ve gotten older, unless I am asked out-rightly or unless it directly effects me. My convictions are stronger than ever, so I guess that people just tend to keep away from me when they are up to no good because my character is evident and they feel guilty around me. I hope so anyway. 🙂

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