From the Pastor’s Desk (June 30, 2013)
Open rebuke is better than secret love. Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful. Proverbs 27:5-6
In my lifetime, I have found that it is good to have someone in your life that is a true friend. Many of us feel that we are good friends to those who are close to us, but I have come to learn that true friendship has serious responsibilities. A friend must be trustworthy and honest, that is they must be reliable and ready to tell the truth in love to the one they call their friend no matter what.
It is a sad thing when we say that we are someone’s friend, and we allow them to say and do things that are not right, and we not check them on it. That is not good friendship. If that goes unchecked we are actually condoning the wrong that is being done. The Bible says, “Faithful are the wounds of a friend…” that is, a friend will tell you the truth about yourself and the situation regardless of the fact that you may get upset with them for telling the truth. That is a true friend indeed. A genuine friend is willing to risk being outcast in order to help his or her friend correct the situation. I know when someone is wounded it will be a shock to them, and it will hurt, but the individual must regroup and think about their actions and then proceed to do what is right. It is not good to just sit back and allow those whom we say are our friends to continue in their wrong actions.
Now, the Scripture says, “But the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.” Wow, that is strong language. We must think about our friendships. If the one that we call friend is, let’s say, talking bad about someone, and we sit there and listen without even telling them that they are wrong, we are co-signing. If the one we call friend has done or is doing something that is wrong, and we tell them, “you are fine, nothing is wrong with you;” then we are not a true friend; we are actually contributing to their deception of thinking they are justified in their actions. When we refuse to tell the truth to the one we call friend; that is what the Scripture calls the deceitful kisses of an enemy. Let me issue a caution, the friend must not seek to destroy the one that is at fault, but should reach out in love.
I know that no one really likes to hear something about themselves that is not good, but if it is true, we should be glad that the one who is a true friend would risk their friendship with us to tell us about the thing or things that are displeasing to the Lord. So, I ask what type of friend are you? And to the one who receives the constructive criticism, how do you receive the truth that has been expressed to you regarding your error?
Your servant in Christ,