I hope you’re hungry, today we are taking a bite out of the twelfth episode in the Friends & Christianity series: The One With The Dozen Lasagnas.
A lot happens in this episode, and a bunch of people walk away with lasagnas, but I want to focus on what could be one of Phoebe’s most touching lines and the story that leads up to them.
Rachel and Paolo are headed out on a vacation together. Rachel is packing her entire closet while Palo is relieving the tension of vacation planning with a massage. Since he’s such a swell guy, he supports Rachel’s friends’ careers by utilizing Phoebe as his masseuse. Only he takes his support a step further by making a move on Pheebs. This is soooo not okay.
Phoebe arrives at Central Perk upset. When Rachel walks away, her friends manage to get out of her what happened.
Ross: You have to tell her! You have to tell her! It’s your moral obligation, as a friend, as a woman, I think it’s a feminist issue! Guys? Guys
Chandler: Oh, yeah, you have to tell her.
Joey: Feminist issue. That’s where I went!
Phoebe: She is gonna hate me.
Telling our friends, the people we love, a painful truth is never fun. We hurt because we love them and we know the truth is going to cause them pain. We want to keep them from the pain, so we try to hide the truth. But if we let them continue to operate under lies, we would only hurt them worse in the end—and have lied to them. Sigh. So Phoebe does what we all do at one time or another, she bakes her best cookies and goes to her friend.
Rachel is delightedly packing and expecting Paolo at any minute. Phoebe delivers the traditional, “Can we talk,” line. They sit down, and Phoebe begins her speech…
Oh, um, we haven’t known each other for that long a time, and, um, there are three things that you should know about me. One, my friends are the most important thing in my life, two, I never lie, and three, I make the best oatmeal raisin cookies in the world.
Rachel eats a cookie and realizes Pheebs is telling the truth. Pheebs offers this as evidence that she never lies. And then she delivers the death blow,
Paolo made a pass at me. ~ Phoebe
Rachel needs a minute and a thermos full of milk, but she accepts what Phoebe says as being true. And, though it costs her a break-up, she is much better off knowing before getting more deeply involved with an unfaithful man.
There are many Bible versus on telling the truth, one of which is Ephesians 4:25 ESV, “Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another.” And further on in verse 29, “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”
My pastor explains it this way. He says we are to THINK before we speak. We are to ask ourselves: Is what I am going to say Truthful? Is it Helpful? Inspiring? Necessary? Kind?
Let’s look at what Phoebe says to Rachel. First she tells Rachel three genuine things about herself: 1. Her friends mean everything to her 2. She never lies, and 3. She makes the best oatmeal raisin cookies. This communication is true, it is helpful in aiding Rachel to better understand Phoebe, it is inspiring for Rachel to know that Phoebe cares about her, it is necessary to lay the ground work before Phoebe communicates the harsh truth she has to share, and it is kind because it prepares Rachel’s heart for the blow.
Phoebe could have come in, handed Rachel the cookies, and right out told her that Paolo made the pass. She would have been speaking the truth, but not necessarily in a kind, gentle, and loving way. 1 Corinthians 16 says that everything we do we should do in love. And, I believe, that applies to telling the truth. Merely speaking truth is not good if it is not done from a position and motive of love.
T.H.I.N.K.ing before we speak helps us to make sure we are speaking out of a position of love rather than judgement or envy or some other self-serving motive.
Be truthful. Be loving.
~ Scribble Inkwell
P.S. ~ Monica gives Paolo a parting lasagna as well. 😉 Love thy enemy.