Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but deceitful are the kisses of an enemy.
Have you ever had the unpleasant experience of having something in your teeth from lunch that you did not know was there? I mean you have a lettuce patch between your teeth. and you are walking around like the Jolly Green Buffoon. and no one even bothers to tell you about it? It is surely embarrassing when you happen to look in the mirror at the end of the day and discover the problem.
I remember very vividly when two of my friends talked to me about some lettuce in my teeth - a blind spot in my life that I could not see was there. At first I did not want to believe there was a problem. But the longer I thought about it and prayed about it, the more I could see the issue. As God revealed the truth to me, I confessed the problem and began to make necessary adjustments to grow in that deficient area of my life.
I praise God for friends who love me enough to inflict faithful wounds. My desire is to be all God wants me to be. And although I have a long way to go, I surely will delay my progress if I am not aware of the blind spots and am not open to correction.
WHAT IS IN YOUR TEETH?
Do you have some really good friends who will love you enough to tell you the truth? Would you be willing to ask those friends to check your teeth so to speak for something that may need to be extracted from your life?
If you and I really want to walk with God, we must be open to reproof. even if it hurts. even if it is something we would rather not hear. The Bible says, "Stripes that wound scour away evil" (Prov. 20:30). It is virtually impossible to go to the next level without the faithful wounds of a true friend who loves you enough to hold you accountable, point out a blind spot and help you pick out the unseen lettuce of sin.
Here are some things to consider that we often do not see in ourselves:
1. Gossip. Do you LOVE to give or receive a juicy piece of news about someone. even though you have no knowledge if the news is true or not. God hates gossip and the spreading of strife among brothers (Prov. 6:19). It's funny but true: gossip tends to be like bad breath, we notice it in others but do not notice it in ourselves.
2. Unforgiveness. Is there someone who has hurt you. and you have not forgiven that person? When we harbor unforgiveness it comes out in the form of cynicism, negativity, sourness, anger and constant criticism.
3. Pride. Do you secretly feel like "it's all about me. what I like, what I want, the way I think it ought to be done?" Pride is really just the big "I". When I put myself above others and above God's will, I am walking in pride. God's word is clear: He hates pride and is opposed to the proud, yet He "gives grace to the humble" (Prov. 16:6-7, Jas. 4:6).
4. Jealousy. Do you find yourself comparing with others on a fairly consistent basis? If you find someone smarter, better, richer, or more talented and blessed than you, do you start to resent that person and secretly long for his/her demise? The Bible says we are not to compare but be content with what we have (Heb. 13:5). Remember, as believers, we have Jesus!! Who could ask for anything more?
Let me encourage you as I encourage myself, be open to correction - "He who hates reproof is stupid" (Prov. 12:1). Give your closest friends the green light in your life. Allow them the freedom to point out blind spots in you that you need to address. And be a friend who speaks the truth in love. Faithful wounds lead to faithfulness.
May God bless us as we obey His Word and do His will.
Jeff Schreve is Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church in Texarkana, Texas. He and his wife Debbie have been married for over 20 years and are blessed with three wonderful girls. Jeff began From His Heart Ministries, a radio and television ministry, in January of 2005. This ministry is completely listener/viewer supported. It continues only through the faithful and generous gifts of people like you. Pastor Jeff takes no salary from this ministry. All gifts go to further the broadcast.