I invited Katherine to lunch that day because I knew she’d tell me the truth. I was pressuring my husband into a major financial decision—behavior I knew was wrong but was rationalizing in many ways. I needed someone to lovingly set me straight.
Katherine didn’t disappoint. She is my older, bolder friend.
Over the years, God has provided various older women as teachers and examples. In my 20s, I looked up to the women whose children I babysat. In my 30s, it was the older women who led a summer Bible study for young moms. Now in my 40s, I often turn to Katherine for advice. She and my mom have been friends since before I was born. I know she loves me and wants the best for me—and she knows my best means growth in Christlikeness.
Do you have an older, bolder friend? Here are three reasons to commit to spending time with someone who can offer counsel from a deep well of biblical wisdom and life experience.
1. Older Friends Are More Likely to Be Bolder Friends
I shared my sin struggle with Katherine that day because I knew she would offer a different perspective from friends my own age. My peers are more likely to excuse my behavior because they struggle with the same issues or because they don’t want to rock the boat of our friendship.
Proverbs 27:6 says, “Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy.” I don’t need someone to excuse my sin; I need a friend willing to risk hurting my feelings for the sake of my sanctification.
I don’t need someone to excuse my sin; I need a friend willing to risk hurting my feelings for the sake of my sanctification.
Because Katherine is a mentor-friend and not a peer, she’s wise and bold. Older women have learned from experience that true friendships can bear the weight of confrontation and emerge stronger. She’s less concerned about offending me and more concerned about how my sin offends the Lord. She cares more about my marriage than what I think of her. She speaks the truth gently, but she doesn’t shy away from hard conversations.
When I share a struggle with Katherine, she doesn’t make excuses for my sin or merely commiserate with me about the difficulty of marriage or parenting. She gently asks probing questions to reveal the sin beneath the surface. She encourages repentance rather than rationalization. And she reminds me of the truth of the gospel: Because I’ve been saved by Christ’s life, death, and resurrection, I can persevere in holiness for his glory until he makes me perfect in heaven.
2. Older, Bolder Friends Offer the Benefit of Hindsight
Our peers are in the trenches with us. They’re struggling to cope with the pressure of others’ expectations, to navigate shifting roles with aging parents, or to keep a marriage fun with a house full of toddlers. Don’t get me wrong—these friendships are valuable. Yes, we need our “I struggle too” friends, but we also need a “here’s what to do” friend.
Yes, we need our ‘I struggle too’ friends, but we also need a ‘here’s what to do’ friend.
Katherine is a pioneer who’s journeyed through my season of life and gained the benefit of hindsight. She’s a guide with greater wisdom, life experience, and time in God’s Word. As Proverbs 16:31 puts it, “Gray hair is a crown of glory; it is gained in a righteous life.”
My older, bolder friend has seen how sinful patterns that start in our 30s or 40s have long-term ramifications in our 50s and 60s. She can look beyond my current circumstances and see how my choices will play out down the road—because she’s seen this before. Her gift of hindsight allows her to give warnings and encouragement from decades my peers haven’t lived.
3. Older, Bolder Friends Walk with Us in Wisdom
Katherine has been studying God’s Word and applying the gospel to her life for about three decades longer than I have. Her heart and mind are a treasure chest of wisdom, understanding, and insight. Scripture is constantly on her lips.
She doesn’t give the impression that she’s arrived at perfection. She honestly shares her own struggles and reminds me that we’re in this process of sanctification together. But every trial the Lord has brought her through, every temptation she’s battled, every hour she’s spent in God’s Word has moved her farther along wisdom’s path. I’m grateful she’s willing to turn around and share what she’s learned with a younger sister who’s a few hundred miles behind.
Proverbs 13:20 says, “Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.” Walking with my wise friend encourages me to keep studying God’s Word and growing in the gospel.
When Katherine and I had lunch that day, she lovingly pointed out my discontentment, selfishness, and lack of gratitude for what God has given me. She reminded me of the Lord’s goodness and encouraged me to wait on his timing. She tenderly turned me away from causing damage in my marriage and guided me back onto the path of submitting to my husband and to the Lord.
If you don’t have a Katherine in your life, ask God to provide the right woman. Ask him for courage to risk vulnerability and gain the benefit of her wisdom. It may be that, a few years from now, the wisdom you gain becomes the thing that makes you someone else’s older, bolder friend.