So today, I ask you to share a time when a friend may have wounded you by speaking hard words to you, and even though you were hurt you realized it was the best and most loving thing he/she could have done. (If you can share the specifics that would be great, but if not feel free to use generalities).
The scripture cited is Proverbs 27:6 “Wounds from a sincere friend are better than many kisses from an enemy.” A counterpoint to this is Psalm 55:12-23, which effectively says “If these insults were coming from an enemy I could stand it, but insults coming from my companion, my close friend requires me to trust in the LORD.”
I can think of times that the truth came to me in a loving way, and I can think of times the truth came at me in a non-loving way from people who love me. This has me thinking about the importance of being loving and honest in our approach to others and the absolute harm that comes from “feedback” that is delivered in the form of insults.
Sometimes, saying nothing is an insult. As a manager, I learned that as hard as the message is to deliver, if someone needs to hear that something their doing is negatively affecting their ability to succeed it is better to deliver that message with love than to let the behavior go unchecked. I know of a few managers who could not bring themselves to confront an employee. They regularly glossed over feedback and softened criticism. The individual would be left to wonder why they weren’t getting ahead, or worse – why they were chosen to be “let go.”
I’ve had friendships that crumbled under the weight of unspoken truths. Is it more loving to lose a friend because you’re unwilling to talk through a problem? It depends on the circumstances, surely. A while back I overheard some friends saying something about me that was the truth, but would have been less hurtful if told to me directly. Overhearing the comments stung and turned the truth into insults.
Years ago a friend told me that my negative comments about other people made him wonder what I said about him when he was not around. Boy! did that have an impact? It was immediate. The bad habit was hard to change but my sensitivity went up 1000% and I never once felt insulted or hurt by the truth he shared. To this day I try to be loving in my comments/criticisms and not say anything behind someone’s back that I wouldn’t say to their face. And, truth be told in love, I’m still working on it.
Praise God! Through Him, all things are possible.
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