It’s typical as human beings to be drawn to friends who flatter us and tell us what we want to hear.
But a true Christian friend will tell you the things you may not necessarily want to hear – they’ll tell you what you need to hear.
So what does it mean to be “wounded” by a friend?
To start, we’re not talking about having your friend follow you around and constantly point out all the ways you’re messing up in life.
A critical and judgmental spirit is not loving – and it’s the Holy Spirit’s role to convict us when we’ve fallen off course.
But a true and discerning friend should lovingly point out an area in your life that is off balance – perhaps an area you are blinded to.
Let’s say you have a dear friend who is a believer in Christ, but is about to make one of the biggest mistakes of her life by being unequally yoked with a “lukewarm” Christian, at best – or a straight up non-believer, at worst.
“But he goes to church!” she may say.
And it’s at this moment you can point her back to God’s truth – and ask direct questions such as, “Yes, but does he LOVE Jesus?” and “Is Jesus Lord of His life?”.
It’s not that you aren’t happy your friend “found love” – but it would be wrong to be the “fun friend” and watch your friend suffer through the pain of being unequally yoked to a non-believer.
Maybe she’ll listen to you. Maybe she won’t.
But you did your part.
Worldly friendships tell us to support people as long as they’re doing “whatever makes them happy.”
But Christian friendships are meant to be so much deeper and stronger.
Watching in silence while your brother in Christ drinks away his problems or gambles away the money needed to put food on the table for his family is not loving.
Perhaps you are caught up in the false allure of sin and may not want to hear it in the moment, but wouldn’t you want someone to lovingly walk alongside you if you’re struggling or spiritually blinded in an area in your life?
Correction is meant to exhort, not tear down.
Anyone can utter flattering words or whisper sweet sounds that tickle our ears (and our egos if we’re honest).
But sometimes, it’s not the kisses we need – but rather a loving rebuke when we’re about to fall off a cliff.
Or as C.H. Spurgeon said so eloquently:
“True friends put enough trust in you to tell you openly of your faults. Give me for a friend the man who will speak honestly of me before my face; who will not tell first one neighbor, and then another, but who will come straight to my house, and say, “Sir, I feel there is such-and-such a
thing in you, which, as my brother, I must tell you of.”
That man is a true friend; he has proved himself to be so; for we never get any praise for telling people of their faults; we rather hazard their dislike; a man will sometimes thank you for it, but he does not often like you any the better.”
This does not mean you “self-appoint” and act like you’re the police of all your friends.
But it does mean that if you are called or are in the position to speak truth into the life of a friend who is stumbling – even if it may temporarily wound them – then do it.
Your wounding may cause them less pain in the future – and could even save their life.
“Better is open rebuke than hidden love. Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy”. Prov. 27:5-6
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” – John 3:16-17
(h/t Christian Life Daily)