Friendship and rebuke. Not exactly two words that trip lightly off the tongue together.
Better is open rebuke
than hidden love.
Wounds from a friend can be trusted,
but an enemy multiplies kisses.
Proverbs 27:5-6 NIV
The tough part of true friendship: knowing when to give gentle but firm rebuke. (And I’m not talking about letting her know that those shoes simply don’t go with that jacket!)
I recently was the recipient of wounds of this kind. Ouch. It’s not a pleasant thing. However, without my friend’s honest assessment, I would not have been aware that I had some personal work to do. (Me? Work to do? What?!?)
It sure is easier to have the “kisses” and compliments of the enemy. The kisses and compliments are so much more soothing and easier to swallow!
Yet, Proverbs 24:3 NLT says:
By wisdom a house is built,
And through understanding it is established;
Through knowledge its rooms are filled
With rare and beautiful treasures.
One way to gain knowledge is to listen to the words of friends, even if those words wound. Ugh. But here’s the good news…
Two are better than one,
Because they have a good return for their work:
If one falls down,
His friend can help him up.
But pity the man who falls
And has no one to help him up!
Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 NIV
I pray that you have a friend in your life that will help you up, that will openly rebuke you if necessary because she cares about you that much. And I pray that you will consider it wisdom if you hear concerns over compliments. (Yes, even if you disagree. You can still gain wisdom from this kind of insight of another, especially if that other is a friend!)
I pray that you are blessed with true friends.
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