Proverbs says, “Better is an open rebuke, thank hidden love. Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.” (Proverbs 27:5-6) Although it does not sound very kind to our 21st century ears to be rebuked or wounded by our friend; it is actually a great offering of grace. Do you have people in your life who only tell you what you want to hear? I think this is what it means to have an enemy multiply kisses. If we are being told to keep moving straight ahead at full speed when they know that where we are headed is failure and pain, it is not hard to see that they are an enemy. A friend however, because of his love for me is not afraid to tell me that I am heading toward pain, even if it is where I think I want to go.
Have you ever left a restaurant with food on your face? Don’t you wish that you would have a friend who cares about you enough to say something. Is it not more embarrassing to walk around all day not knowing? It is not easy to hear at first. I may be a little embarrassed in that moment and at the same time really thankful that they had the courage to say something.
We all have blind spots – areas of our life that we for whatever reason we can’t see and don’t realize the hurt they are bringing to us or others. Maybe our family background or unhealthy relationships at some point made us think that our behavior is normal, yet we desperately need someone to let us know that we have egg on our face and just don’t know it. Those conversations are hard. They hurt us (if we are on the receiving end), but if we know that person loves us – we can be assured that this kind of wound can be trusted. This is the beauty of community. When we walk alongside of people who love Jesus and love us, we have the opportunity at times for growth as our friends speak truth into our lives. I know that I can be stubborn and blind to some of my own struggles and I thank God for the men and women He has placed in my life who can help me change and grow and become the friend, husband, and father that He wants me to be.
Do you have someone in your life who knows you well enough and cares enough about you to “wound” you? If you do, would you be willing to listen?