“Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.”
Proverbs 27:6, NIV
I love the book of Proverbs. The hundreds of God-inspired sayings which are gathered together in this most amazing of books, reflect every arena of life – from birth to death and all the experiences we can have between these two extremes. I love the down to earth practicality, direct honesty, no compromise and wonderful promises which are scattered throughout all thirty-one chapters, together with the many personal challenges which are embedded therein.
The verse I have chosen for today is one of those personal challenges. A challenge that I have had to respond to personally on more than one occasion, when someone I loved and trusted had the courage to speak into my life with words of correction. I have to confess that my first reaction wasn’t always warm and welcoming. The carnal nature wanted to rise up and defend myself – even when I knew in my heart that what I was doing wasn’t defendable and anger would try to exert itself. I felt the wound in my heart and the pain of having to make adjustments. And I wanted to hide away and lick my wounds and try and justify myself!
Repentance doesn’t always come easily – but if it doesn’t come at all we run the danger of being trapped in an ever tightening circle of ungodly behaviour and reactions. Repentance is the doorway to forgiveness and healing.
Sometimes it took a little while for me to realise how much love had gone into the words of correction, even though they had been hard to receive. And how costly it was for the person who had had the courage to show me such love. I learnt that love, sometimes, has to be tough in order to reap its reward. Looking back now, I am so, so, grateful for those times when necessary correction proved to be more loving than ‘fake kisses of encouragement’ which would have ignored the real needs of my life in those times. The wounds became opportunities for healing and restoration.
Prayer: Thank You, Lord for showing me through this Scripture that wounds of correction can be messages of love and healing. Help me, Lord, to always respond with humility whenever You bring correction into my life – either through the words of Scripture, or the loving intervention of a true friend. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.