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MM00098 Kisses of enemies or wounds of friends

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Mentoring Manna:  Kisses of enemies or wounds of friends?

© 2003 Pastor Keith Hassell

MM00098

 

Proverbs 27:6 (NKJV)  “Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.”

            One of the greatest treasures we can have in life is a true friend. Those who can say they have true friends are blessed indeed. Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “Many people will walk in and out of your life, but only true friends will leave footprints in your heart.” Unfortunately, we sometimes assume that someone is our friend only to discover that he or she is not really our friend at all.  Some of the most bitter of experiences in life involve the betrayal of a friend. King David felt the pain of betrayal when he recounted, “Even my own familiar friend in whom I trusted, who ate my bread, has lifted up his heel against me.”[1]

Many mistake friends for so-called “buddies” who revel with us in the sinful passions and desires of this world.  They are our sidekicks as we live life on the “wild side.” They are our comrades in sin. However, these types of friends do not have the capacity to help us live meaningful and godly lives.  False friends abandon us when the consequences of our sin catch up with us. Repentant souls discover that once they determine to walk in the ways of God, these “friends” attempt to draw them back into sin.  If they refuse, then they scoff and walk away.  As Job discovered, in times of great affliction our “fair weather” friends abandon us.[2]  David recalled during a time of affliction in his life, “My loved ones and my friends stand aloof from my plague, and my relatives stand afar off.”[3]  Worldly friends have no hope or help to offer us.  The inability to deal with real life issues causes them to back away.  We are left feeling disillusioned and abandoned.

God wants to give us friends---true friends.  What is a true friend?  A true friend is a godly friend. They do not rejoice when we involve ourselves in destructive behavior but when we embrace and follow God’s truth.[4]  A true friend loves at all times.[5]  They are committed to the relationship whether it is in sickness or in health, in riches or in lack, and in success or in failure. A true friend will stay with us even when our family walks away.[6]

            A true friend will tell us the truth even if it hurts.  A false friend will flatter us in order to pretend to be our friend. The Mexican General Obragon once said, “Do not be afraid of enemies who attack you. Be afraid of the friends who flatter you.” Judas turned out to be a false friend. He betrayed Jesus with a kiss of friendship.[7] Listen to this instruction: “The righteous should choose his friends carefully, for the way of the wicked leads them astray.”[8] The wise will choose friends who will risk losing the friendship to tell them what they need to hear rather than what they want to hear. Solomon declared, “It is better to hear the rebuke of the wise than for a man to hear the song of fools.”[9]  The rebuke of the wise is better than the song of fools. The tough love of a friend is better than the flattery of a hypocrite.  The wounds of a friend are better than the kisses of an enemy.

Application:  Do you have real friends in your life?  Are there people who are willing to speak the truth to you in love?  Are there people who are willing to risk losing the relationship in order to help you live for God and do what is right? Are there people who are willing to hold you accountable with your life?  These are the true friends that you can count on in the cold days of adversity when the other fair weather friends have flown south. Have you made a point to embrace them as your true friends?  If you do, you will be among the wise.

 

Prayer:  “Heavenly Father, thank You for friends who will speak the truth to me in love. Thank You for friends who will rebuke me when I need it.  Help me to embrace true and godly friends in my life. Teach me to value the wounds of a true friend above the flattery of hypocrites.  I ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.”

 


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[1] Psalm 41:9 NKJV

[2] See Job 19:14, 19

[3] Psalm 38:11 NKJV

[4] 1 Corinthians 13:6

[5] Proverbs 17:17

[6] Proverbs 18:24

[7] Matthew 26:49

[8] Proverbs 12:26 NKJV

[9] Ecclesiastes 7:5 NKJV

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