Our society seems to think that being a good friend means telling your friends how 'awesome' they are, patting them on the back...even when they make some really bad life decisions. It means saying nothing when an abusive friend constantly uses you as their personal punching bag. It means lending them money when you know they'll waste it, letting them drive home when they're drunk, lying for them to cover up something dodgy....
If you believe those 'shared' forward thingies on Facebook, a true friend will help you hide the body if you commit a murder.
Sometimes the best kind of friend is the one who'll give you a kick up the bum when you need it...in the nicest possible way. A true friend has the guts to say what needs to be said out of their love and concern for you. Because they're your friend, they're NOT just going to sit back and watch you flush your life down the toilet...or help you do it.
Now, I'm not saying that 'speaking the truth in love' means voicing whatever thoughts and opinions you've held deep down about your friend. It doesn't mean telling them green is so not their colour. It doesn't mean telling them they have a big pimple on their nose (they probably know that anyway). It doesn't mean finding every little fault.
It's about the big things. For Christians, it's about living to bring glory to Jesus in all areas of life. Let's face it, we all suck at it at times and need some help. That's why God gave us the church. We all have blind spots. We all need someone to gently point out serious things to us.
I dislike confrontation as much as the next person and I don't get my jollies out of people pointing out my faults. I remember when my housemate pointed out that I was watching too much TV. It was 2005, the year after I'd finished uni, and I was just so elated to come home from work and NOT spend my evenings studying, that I kind of became a bit addicted to the box. She had the guts to gently point this out to me. And because she was gentle, I listened. She was right. I was wasting so much time and hadn't really noticed.
Yay for friends like that. Yay for friends who have the courage to do and say what's best for us, out of their love for us.