A friend who tells you the truth is better than a friend who flatters

Thrive Conference – Omaha Nebraska – Lysa Terkeurst

Recently I traveled to Omaha with my friends Jonetta and Casey for a women’s conference. After the conference was over we ventured to the mall taking advantage of our kid-free time. Besides, we “needed” new jeans. 

As we walked into the clothing store we were approached by a spunky, tall, brunette, spiral-haired young woman who was on a mission. Her name tag read Tessa.

“What can I help you, ladies, with?” she asked.

“Jeans,” we said in unison.

“Ok, let’s see what we can find.” She looked at Casey without asking for her size and went to get her several pairs to try on. I was immediately confused.

“You can just look at us and guess what size we are?” I asked Tessa when she came back.

“Yep! I’ve been doing this for a long time and I can tell you right now your jeans are too big for you,” she said.

“Wait, what?” I said, my jeans fit fine. 

She proceeded to bring out a bunch of pairs that made me gasp when I looked at the tag.

“Trust me on this,” she said. 

My eyes grew wide and I shut the dressing room door. Tessa wanted to see every pair I tried on. She told me which ones fit well and which ones didn’t. Eventually, I showed her a pair I thought might work according to her standards (not mine).

“Um, those look amazing on you!” she said. 

“Really?” I said, “Well, they feel really tight.”

“Yeah, our jeans stretch as you move around in them. It’s important to remember that,” she said. “It’s best to go one size down.”

Jonetta and Casey looked at me and agreed they looked much better than my old saggy pair. I was elated and sweaty from changing so many times. When Jonetta took a photo on my phone, that sealed the deal. They were right. The jeans looked so much better. 

I was thankful Tessa was straightforward. I’d never had a sales clerk like her. We left the store with new jeans in our bags and big smiles on our faces.

That experience taught me the importance of honesty. Tessa could have lied and told me the more expensive brand she had as an option looked the best, but she didn’t. When I walked into the store, she didn’t have to share her honest feelings about my present clothing condition, but she was there to help. 

I was able to find a pair that was reasonably priced and she didn’t please me with flattery to make me feel good. I thanked her repeatedly for it. 

Proverbs 29:23 says, “Whoever rebukes a man will afterward find more favor than he who flatters with his tongue.”

A friend who corrects us is considered wiser than one who lavishes insincere praise and compliments upon us. We can trust someone who’s willing to tell us what we need to hear, not just what we want to hear. We’ll get further in life with correction and loving rebuke.

Scripture teaches us that the person who’s favored is the one who’s corrected, not the person who’s flattered– opposite of what we might think.

Sure, it hurts to be told the truth sometimes. It stings and crushes our pride. It doesn’t feel good. But if you have someone in your life who loves you enough to be completely genuine, consider yourself doubly blessed. They’ve got your back. They won’t let you walk out the door with spinach in your teeth or let you say something stupid that could ruin your relationships. Their sincerity just might keep you out of future hurt and pain.

You need friends who’ll check in to see how you’re really doing. Friends who’ll ask the hard questions about how you’re treating your spouse, kids, co-workers, and more. Friends who have permission to lovingly call you out when you’re in the wrong. Friends who’ll pray over the deep, dark areas you struggle in – not to judge but to support. Friends who’ll tell you when you’re not thinking clearly. 

That’s a friend who truly loves you.

After that shopping experience, I’ll take the truth any day over flattery if it makes me a better person … and … helps me fit into the right pair of jeans!



Samantha Krieger is a pastor’s wife and mom to 4. She is the author of  Quiet Time: A 30-day Devotional Retreat for Moms in the Trenches. Her writing appears regularly on Her View From Home, TODAY Parenting, and For the Family. Connect with her on Instagram and Facebook.

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