There are those who like coffee, and those who are obsessed. My friend was among the obsessed. For her, coffee was not just one of life’s perks, it was life. Her friends and I would fuel her caffeine addiction by making sure she had her daily doses before a meltdown ensued. Why? Because we loved her, of course.
Her habit persisted until a doctor ruled her beloved beverage a detriment to her health. She had a certain condition that didn’t mix well with coffee, so it was off-limits for the time being—much to her dismay. Saying goodbye to her daily cups-o’-joe would not be easy on her. Or her friends.
Each day, she came up with her list of reasons why she needed her coffee to survive, and we had to remind her what the doctor said. It would seem so loving just to give her what would make her happy. But with her diagnosis, the caring thing to do was to be honest about the potential negative side effects.
Now, coffee is not bad for everyone, and—to the joy of caffeine lovers everywhere, doctors have more recently noted some positive effects. But at the time, for the good of our friend, as much as we wanted to shower her with gift cards to her favorite coffee shop, the loving thing to do was to help her make changes that would benefit her health.
In our closest relationships, we may come to know someone well enough that we see habits that could potentially hurt them. And it’s likely they will see the same in us. We may be tempted to keep quiet, thinking the loving thing is to let them go on doing whatever makes them happy, even if it leads to the edge of a dangerous cliff. But true love is honest. If we really love someone, we’ll speak up—not in judgment, but in gentle concern for their well-being.
“Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.” (Proverbs 27:6)