Theme of the Week: The Redemptive Power of Godly Friendship
Bible Verse: Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy.” Proverbs 27:6 ESV
Scripture Reading: Ephesians 4:1-31
Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses. Proverbs 27:6 Correction is similar to counsel, for each one involves speaking the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15). Yet the difference between them is an important one, and helpful to understand. As we have seen, counsel generally helps keep us from heading down the wrong path in some particular area.
But correction becomes necessary when we are already on the wrong path and need to change. In other words, where typically the goal of counsel is to prevent something bad, the goal of correction is to restore something good.
Proverbs 27:6 contrasts how true friends and enemies (posing as friends) respond to us when we are in the wrong. With brevity and brilliance, this verse uncovers both the worldviews and the motivations of the two groups.
The true friend is able to look at our lives with a biblical, God-centered worldview. If we are on a wrong path, he is able to see that as the simple, unambiguous reality that it is—no fudging about sin and deception, no flirtation with compromise. At that point, redemptive friendship can only respond one way. Wounds, in the form of verbal correction or even rebuke, have simply become necessary. There is no point in pretending the situation is not serious. Like setting a broken bone or performing surgery to remove a cancer, a friend’s wounds are far better suffered sooner rather than later. These are careful, measured wounds, humbly administered, which can help heal a significant illness. Such wounding is an act of redemptive love.
Charles Bridges artfully illuminates the nature of a true friend: What is the friend, who will be a real blessing to my soul? Is it enough, that he will humor my fancies, and flatter my vanity? Is it enough that he loves my person, and would spend his time and energies in my service? This comes far short of my requirement. I am a poor straying sinner, with a wayward will and a blinded heart; going wrong at every step. The friend for my case is one, who will watch over me with open rebuke; but a reprover when needful; not a flatterer. The genuineness of a friendship without this mark is more than doubtful; its usefulness utterly paralyzed.1 Charles Bridges, Proverbs, Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, reprinted 1998, 166-167.
Taken from A Proverbs Driven Life by Anthony Selvaggio, © 2008. Used by permission of Shepherd Press, shepherdpress.com
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