ODJ: Friendly Wounds

June 11, 2016 

READ: Proverbs 27:5-6 

An open rebuke is better than hidden love! (v.5).

I received an email from a close friend with the subject line “I’m too old for this!” His email told of his recent ordeal riding a roller coaster with his 12 year old son. He said that the ride lasted only a minute, but it was miserable. He didn’t get physically sick, but he also didn’t want to eat for the rest of the day.

After reflecting on his harrowing experience, he said his new motto is: “Friends don’t let friends (over 40 years old) ride roller coasters.”

My friend’s new motto reminded me of the old familiar proverb that many over the age of 40 probably first read from the pages of the King James Version of the Bible: “Faithful are the wounds of a friend” (Proverbs 27:6). In other words, stinging words from a friend can be trusted.

True friends will tell us something that’s difficult for us to hear because they’re concerned that we’re about to hurt ourselves or others. In speaking the truth, they “wound” us, not to cruelly hurt but to help.

Wounding words are spoken to sound a warning. They’re given in the hopes that it will keep us from a more tragic outcome. I for one have personally benefitted from a friend sharing such words with my father when I was a young boy. He said to my dad, “Kenny, you’ve already missed out on the lives of your two oldest boys. Don’t make the same mistake with your two youngest sons.” Thankfully, my dad wasn’t offended by his friend. He took the wounding words to heart and became thoroughly involved in his sons’ lives.

It’s never easy to receive such words (or to say them). But true friends “speak the truth in love” because they care (Ephesians 4:15). May we follow God’s lead by speaking hard words that lead to life!

—Jeff Olson

365-day plan: Luke 2:21-39

Read Proverbs 28:23 to see what people truly appreciate. 
How might God be leading you to “wound” a friend in order to help? What does it mean to “speak the truth in love”?