When Friends Wound

Bill Hybels wrote in Axiom, “The nature of human beings is such that we tend not to drift into better behaviors. We usually have to be asked by someone to consider taking it up a level.” I have learned that this is true not only for behaviors, but for crucial decisions too.

I’m in the process of contemplating some major decisions for my life. During this time I am grateful for friends that can give me their counsel, and can share with me their wisdom.

I’m also grateful that they wound me.

Huh? Yes, I am glad for friends who wound me!

The wise King Solomon wrote, “Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses” (Proverbs 27:6, New International Version). So true. Those who don’t care about you don’t ask the tough questions; those who care about you challenge your logic and your reasoning. Those who don’t care about you let the little things slide; those who care about you challenge you to not settle for the status quo.

The New Living Translation renders this verse, “Wounds from a sincere friend are better than many kisses from an enemy.” I would much prefer to be wounded by a friend during the decision-making time, than to have lots of so-called love up front, only to walk smack-dab into a huge problem later, wouldn’t you? So when I have an important decision to make, I get around people who love me enough to wound me.

And not only for the big decisions, but I need sharp friends for the day-in-day-out things that will help me “take it up a level.” Solomon also said, “Become wise by walking with the wise; hang out with fools and watch your life fall to pieces” (Proverbs 13:20, The Message).

Many years ago a Romanian friend shared with me a proverb from his homeland: “Show me who your friends are and I will tell you who you are.”

What does your choice in friends say about you? Do your friends love you enough to wound you? Do your friends help you take it to the next level?

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