FRIEND OR FOE?
"Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but deceitful are the kisses of an enemy."
Can you tell the difference between a true friend and a false one? So many people cannot.
Paul made friends with the people who lived in the region of Galatia. He loved them, and they loved him back. He told them about Jesus and led them to faith in Christ. It was wonderful, at least for a little while.
But then Paul left that region to preach the gospel elsewhere. When he was gone, false teachers came in behind him and swept the Galatians off their feet with their smooth sounding rhetoric, persuasive arguments, and "kisses of an enemy." They deceived these new believers with heresy and caused them to turn on Paul, their spiritual father in the faith.
Paul was hurt, angry, and incredulous. He wondered how they could so quickly turn away from Jesus and His gospel of amazing grace. He wondered how they could so quickly see Paul as a foe. He said, "Have I become your enemy by telling you the truth?" (Galatians 4:16).
Is it right to view a truth-teller as an enemy? Certainly not! Truth-tellers are true friends as they speak the truth in love in order to help you grow.
LIE TO ME?
In our world today, many people would prefer to hear lies rather than the truth. The people in Isaiah's day didn't want to hear Isaiah preach the truth. They didn't want to hear that they were sinning and needed to get right with Holy God before judgment fell. They told Isaiah, "You must not prophesy to us what is right, speak to us pleasant words, prophesy illusions" (Isaiah 30:10). They wanted to have their ears tickled and hear sweet-sounding myths rather than the truth (see 2 Timothy 4:3-4). They wanted to hear how wonderful they were, how special they were, and how lucky God was to have them even give Him the time of day. How twisted is that!?
What about you? Would you rather hear the truth or hear lies?
Here is the problem with a "lie to me" mentality: It may feel good for a moment—like a kiss—but it is deadly in the long run. Those who live choosing to believe lies end up forfeiting earthly blessings and eternal rewards. The cost of the kiss is just too great.
To be sure, the truth often hurts. But the truth is SO NECESSARY. It is a faithful wound. It sets a person free.
When I was in seventh grade, I had hernia surgery. I went into surgery looking perfectly healthy, even though I was not. I came out of surgery with a scar and abdominal pain. I was wounded ... but it was a faithful wound that led to the wonderful blessing of long-term health and all the benefits that go along with that.
Think of salvation. The devil's kiss tells us that we are fine as we are. There is no need to repent and be born again. But that is a palatable, "feel good" lie that will send a person to hell forever.
WHAT IS THE UNPALATABLE TRUTH?
You and I are wicked sinners who are unable to save ourselves. We are hopeless and in desperate need of a Savior. (Most people don't want to hear that!) But, if we don't see our true condition, we will never cry out to Jesus in repentance and faith. We will miss out on a relationship with God and be separated from Him for all eternity unless we first believe and receive the faithful wound.
Let me encourage you to walk in the light. Ask God to search your heart on a regular basis and reveal to you any darkness that might be accumulating there—pride, bitterness, jealousy, greed, idolatry, dishonesty, lust, or whatever. Spend time each day listening to the truth of God's Word. And make sure you have people in your life who are true friends, those who will love you enough to tell you the truth and provide faithful wounds.
Pastor Jeff Schreve,
From His Heart Ministries
Dr. Jeff Schreve believes that no matter how badly you may have messed up in life, God still loves you and has a wonderful plan just for you. From His Heart provides real truth, love and hope on over 700 radio stations each day, in 182 countries each week on TV, and is always available online. Pastor Jeff takes no income from this ministry. All donations go to furthering the broadcast outreach. As a listener/viewer supported ministry, we thank you for joining with us to help speak the truth in love to a lost and hurting world. Go to www.fromhisheart.org for more information.