Updated: Apr 19
"Faithful are the wounds of a friend, But the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.” Proverbs 27:5-6 NKJV
The greatest friend we can have is the one who is willing to both encourage and confront us in love.
The greatest friend we can have is the one who is willing to both encourage and confront us in love. It is the friend who speaks Truth in love whom we should always keep. In this day and age, if you are kind, that is enough. However, true kindness from a Christian perspective comes in the form of tough love. This love wants what is best for others. Those who possess this true loving kindness are not concerned with everything always needing to be happy-go-lucky. They desire the real and the raw. It is to this end that the deeper the conversations we have with a friend, the deeper the friendship will be.
Most people enjoy a good show at the theater. However, once the show is done there is nothing more that impacts that person. They say, “That was a good movie” or “that was a fun movie”, but the temporal feelings soon fizzle. It is like this with people who will not go deeper into their friendships. Those who don’t want themselves or their friends to improve, will soon be excused. People who are only concerned about everything being fun, will soon be put to the run. They will constantly jump from friendship to friendship, never discussing the deeper things of life. The genuine person who desires growth, however, seeks both a fun loving friend who is willing to encourage and convict, based upon what the Holy Spirit has spoken to them.
It takes an open heart to receive rebuke, and it takes courage and genuine love to rebuke. This is never done with judgment, but rather discernment.
““Open rebuke is better Than love carefully concealed” (Proverbs 27:5 NKJV). It takes an open heart to receive rebuke, and it takes courage and genuine love to rebuke. This is never done with judgment, but rather discernment. Those who simply tell others to change, do so in a judgmental fashion. Those who reveal to others that their actions and words do not align with Christ, are those who love their friend more than their reputation. It is these friends “who sticks closer than a brother” (Proverbs 18:24 NKJV).
Friends are more apt to listen and take heed to the instructive criticism and rebuke from those they respect and love.
Friends are more apt to listen and take heed to the instructive criticism and rebuke from those they respect and love. They are much more open to listen to a person who has developed a reputation that reveals a true heart behind what they say. Pastors such as David Wilkerson, Paul Washer, Leonard Ravenhill, Carter Conlon, Zac Poonen, Charles Lawson, and Steven Lawson are men who did/do not fear other men. They simply spoke and, for those still alive, continue to speak God’s Word for what it says. They aren’t concerned with political preaching (which is what the majority of young and middle-aged pastors do today). They rebuke from the pulpits, but it is done in love.
The sooner people open their hearts to the tougher truths, the greater the impact and wisdom they will have in the future.
Those who have made the conscious decision to open their ears and heart to receive truth will in the long term be thankful for reproof. “Listen to counsel and receive instruction, That you may be wise in your latter days” (Proverbs 19:20 NKJV). The sooner people open their hearts to the tougher truths, the greater the impact and wisdom they will have in the future. It is the friend who provides Biblical guidance through loving rebuke that will always stick closer than a brother. For they care about seeing the most Christ-like behavior come from their friend. They want their friend to be distant from sin because they know that sin is the path that leads towards everlasting damnation. It takes courage to warn, but those who do so will turn others from the coming storm.
May we not allow fleshly passions to override spiritual endeavors.
Let us therefore discern who our friends are. Let us not give way to worldly friends. The inner man is wicked and does not seek God (Romans 3:11). The Bible warns us to “not be deceived: “Evil company corrupts good habits”” (1 Corinthians 15:33 NKJV). May we not allow fleshly passions to override spiritual endeavors. If we seek to know God, we will surround ourselves with those who speak for God. True friendship is guided upon the Scriptures. It is made known through the encouragement, love, and rebuke of born-again believers who love the Lord and love us.
May we accept the wounds of our friends, in order that we may grow in our faith. For when it is done in love, our faith will soar like an eagle.
O Lord, we thank You for Your provision and providence. Lord, we pray that You would continue to bless us with Christian friends that will grow us in the faith. May we not give into the desires of the flesh, but may we desire to be like You. Open our hearts to receive rebuke from our loving and trusted friends and pastors. May we not harden our hearts to the Truth that is spoken. May we desire nothing more than to know and show You. Lord, transform us and continue to sanctify us. We need Your touch and Your love. Give us friends that we can help in the faith, as well as those who will not fear to tell us the tougher truths. We love You, Lord, and thank You for what You will do. Protect Your saints across the earth and may Your Spirit grow us in unity. In Jesus’ name, Amen.