December 7, 2014
READ: Proverbs 27:5-10, 27
An open rebuke is better than hidden love! Wounds from a sincere friend are better than many kisses from an enemy (vv.5-6).
Charles complained to his friend about some lower back pain. He was seeking a sympathetic ear, but his friend gave him an honest assessment. “Your back isn’t your problem,” he pointed out. “It’s your stomach. Your stomach is so big it’s pulling on your back.”
Would you have been offended if someone said that to you?
Charles shared that he resisted the temptation to be offended. He lost the weight and his ‘back’ problem went away. Charles recognised that “an open rebuke is better than hidden love! Wounds from a sincere friend are better than many kisses from an enemy” (Proverbs 27:5-6).
The trouble with most of us is that we’d rather be ruined by praise than helped by criticism. Truth hurts. It bruises our ego. It calls for change. It makes us uncomfortable.
We need to recognise that true friends don’t find pleasure in hurting us. Rather, they love us too much to deceive us. They’re people who show loving courage by pointing out what we probably already know well—things we’ve found hard to accept and truly address. They tell us what we need to hear and not only what we want to hear.
Author Vaughn Roberts wrote, “There is a certain ‘niceness’ to a friendship where I can be, as they say, myself. But what I really need are relationships in which I will be encouraged to become better than myself. Myself needs to grow a little each day. I don’t want to be the myself I was yesterday. I want to be the myself that is developing each day to be more of a Christ-like person.”
Do you have friends who are helping you grow in Christ? Make an effort to maintain those friendships. They’ll help you become better than today’s version of yourself. —Poh Fang Chia
365-day plan› 1 Thessalonians 1:1-10
Read Ephesians 4:15 to remember the attitude we ought to have when speaking the truth.
How well do you take criticism? Why is it vital that you accept hard words spoken in love and speak the truth in love to others?