Proverbs 27:6 says, “Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.” In other words, sometimes the things that we want to hear are not the things that we need to hear. And words that hurt might be like the surgeon’s scalpel that cuts in order to heal. Most people avoid conflict when possible. So when a friend works up the courage to confront us or speak some difficult truth into our life, we would be wise to listen and take it to heart.
Are you receptive to criticism and correction? Over the years, I have often been struck with how thin-skinned people can be. Two people have been friends for some time. But when there is any measure of correction, the “offended” party goes off in a huff and the friendship is lost. The sad reality is that too often we would rather receive the kisses of an enemy than the wounds of a friend.
It is true that sometimes those who confront us are off the mark in their assessment and uncharitable in their approach. They might have their own selfish motivations and might be overlooking the sins in their own lives. But the fact remains that there is still usually something to be gleaned – if we are open to it and willing to humble ourselves.
Life Groups are forming this fall. There are plenty of good reasons not to participate. Some already have good Christian friends. Some have certain scheduling dynamics that make it difficult to participate. But I am convinced that some don’t want to be in a group because they don’t really want anyone in their business. They are content to carry on with the status quo. And they would rather avoid the necessary friction that comes with true friendship. If friends are those who are willing to wound, how many true friends do you have?
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