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Responding to the Wounds of a Friend

Receiving wise instruction from faithful friends

2 min

“Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful” (Proverbs 27:6).

If we really care about someone, we want the best for that person. As a friend, we let him know that we believe in him and will be honest with him. True friendship requires humility and a willingness to listen, hear, and speak openly, without fear of rejection or deception. Yet, as the proverb says, a true friend’s words may hurt because they may be words of rebuke, correction, or instruction. When this happens, our response indicates something about us, and it influences the future destiny of the friendship.

True friendship requires humility and a willingness to listen, hear, and speak openly, without fear of rejection or deception.

Proverbs teaches the characteristics of different types of fools, and even as believers, we act foolishly at times. Possibly because of physical conditions, emotional stress, or feelings of insecurity, we may not appreciate the “wounds of a friend,” and we respond as would a silly fool or a scorner. Due to pride, we can allow ourselves to be offended and reject wise counsel. We may even criticize or mock the very person who is trying to help us. (See Proverbs 9:7, 13:1, 15:12, and 21:24.)

In that case, the friendship may be broken—not because what the individual said was wrong but because we would not receive his instruction. Whether we defend our rejection of instruction because “it’s not true” or “I know better” or by asking, “Who are you to tell me?” the root reason for rejecting wise counsel is pride.

When we do receive counsel or correction from a friend, we need to stop and consider two things. First, does my history with this person indicate that the person is truly a friend who wants the best for me? Second, if so, am I going to humble myself and hear what the friend is telling me, repent, and be grateful for a friend who cares enough to tell me the truth?

If the relationship is superficial or has existed only for a short time, it may be appropriate to question the “friend’s” motive and counsel. However, if the person has proved to be a friend in the past, we should humble ourselves and not be a “scorner” who turns on the friend and defames, mocks, or rejects him because we do not like what he says to us.

Let us not be silly fools or scorners toward faithful friends when they point out faults in our lives. May we be wise and receive instruction (see Proverbs 8:33). “See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise” (Ephesians 5:15).

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