[Faithful are the wounds of a friend]
One of the more difficult things to do is correct someone. I’ve struggled with this one over the years because I hate to wound anyone. Unfortunately, I’ve also learned, through experience, that not saying what I should say is no help at all.
Because I’m very protective of those whose self-esteem has taken a beating, I’ve also had a tendency to coddle them. This isn’t good. It doesn’t help anyone to grow. Of course anytime we do correct someone, it should be handled gently.
As the person receiving correction, we shouldn’t be so quick to be offended. Scripture reminds us that a true friend should say something. Scripture also reminds us that it is better the wounds of a friend then the deceitful flattery of an enemy. If we want to grow in Christ, we should desire the truth, even if it hurts.
Some who go heavy on the flattery do so for their own gain, which isn’t to say that we should be leary of all who pay us a compliment, but perhaps we should value correction above compliments, and a friend who cares enough to say something when they feel that we’re making a mistake.
Jesus lovingly corrected all, even those whose ways He despised: the luke warm. Though He was ready to spit them out of His mouth, He also gave them an opportunity to correct their ways by showing them where they err. (Read through Jeremiah. You’ll receive an eyeful of how God provides chance after chance, and warning after warning.) Correction can be compassionate.
Though we don’t enjoy correction, we also know that God won’t always rebuke us. Thankfully, He doesn’t deal with us as we deserve, nor repay us for the things we’ve done. Instead, His grace (the free underserved gift of Salvation to those who accept) removes our transgressions. However, this doesn’t mean that we can go on sinning. (1 John 3:9)
It’s isn’t always easy to hear the truth, but it isn’t always easy to be the one who must correct either. Let’s remember the faithfulness in this loving act.
“ [Jesus] commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that He is the one whom God appointed as judge of the living and the dead. All the prophets testify about Him that everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins through His name.” –Acts 10:42-43
“He will not always chide, nor will He keep His anger forever. He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His steadfast love toward those who fear Him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does He remove our transgressions from us. As a father shows compassion to His children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him.” –Psalm 103:9-13
“Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.” –Proverbs 27:6