I remember several street beggars in New York before the time of Mayor Giuliani, when they were allowed to congregate on the sidewalk in front of our church and would often demand handouts, then angrily accuse us of hypocrisy when they disapproved of the amount we gave. They'd even quote scriptures with the vehemence of a fire-and-brimstone preacher. They had the lowest standards for their hygiene, warmth, health and safety, but when it came to handouts, they were consummate perfectionists. If you didn't live up to their expectations, you'd get an earful!
One thing for certain is the Bible holds us all to high standards in so many aspects, that none of us can afford to assume that we have attained perfection in any of them. A friend who prods you on to improve is truly a friend, no matter how uncomfortable that may be. She is keeping you from becoming complacent, and complacency kills faith. Be thankful for the wounds of a friend.
But ask yourself, are you one of those friends who usually does the prodding, but is completely blind in other areas yourself? Maybe you need to be on the receiving end. Maybe you don't just need a prod, but shock treatment! Just like the beggars in New York, you can even use the Bible to justify why your version of perfection is the best. Are you perfect in one or two minuscule areas, and even humble about the areas you're not so strong in, making you even more perfect?
I can list for you the things that I am imperfect in, and for many of my friends, those areas are a breeze for them. I need to prod myself and truly improve - I know. But one of my frustrations is that in the areas where I have a strong perfectionist streak, few seem to even care about those things, or even notice that they are an issue. They are often brushed off as not worthy of effort, meanwhile I can see how incredibly important they are to being effective in the way we help others. If I speak up, I become offensive, but if I remain silent, I stifle a very living urge inside of me to see this thing done well. Foolishly, I have just remained silent for too long and didn't realize how much could have been done about it.
This is my challenge now, to do more than just speak up and be heard, but to be an example of how doing things right actually works. There is no better teacher and no better encouragement for others to follow your lead, than concrete results. Meanwhile, I'll be working on all the stuff I've been prodded to do, and trust that God will use me to bless others as I prod them with my example. Of course, if people want to hear what I have to say, I'd be more than happy to give them an earful!