Vol.VI No.XI Pg.3
January 1970

Wounds Of A Friend

Robert F. Turner

Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful (Prov. 27:6). Compliments do not necessarily identify friends; criticism does not always come from enemies. Remember Judas who kissed the Lord — and betrayed him. Some of the most elaborate, gushing compliments I have ever received came from my enemies — often closely associated with a sharp pain in the back where the knife entered! Some of the most unpleasant, painful, and ego deflating comments about myself and my work have come from my best friends. An enemy will tell everyone you have bad breath; a friend might give you a bottle of scope and suggest you try it. Oh, how criticism hurts! How awful it makes you feel! But when the pain of a wounded pride subsides, you realize it was a favor. Ignoring the problem would never have helped. You would not have your friend to act otherwise — though it takes a little time to appreciate the wound he inflicted. It is hard to appreciate a dentist while he is drilling!

Genuine interest in soul prompts concern in a friend who observes my path leading away from God. A sharp personal rebuke — thou art the man (2 Sam. 12: 1-7) — may be necessary to set me straight. It is better to suffer a momentary wound than eternal loss. Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?

Yet a friend finds no pleasure in inflicting such wounds. I resent the doctor grinning as he probes a sore spot! I know he must do it, but I do not like to think he enjoys it! It is all too easy to become a professional and perpetual critic of everything, and everybody — to delight in finding fault. Such is surely no virtue am evidently rarely profits anyone. An enemy aims his dart to destroy and to maim; a friend never does that. Our parents corrected us. The red welts on the hinder parts were not aimed at our destruction but were wounds of love for our profit.

And there is the other side of the coin — being a friend. That is not always easy. Friendship is more than social calls, sharing meals, and enjoying each others companionship. It is caring enough to do whatever needs to be done — regardless how utterly distasteful the task may be.

Pauls sharp letter of rebuke to the Corinthians was written out of much anguish of heart... with many tears..., that ye might know the love which I have more abundantly toward you (2 Cor. 2:4). Paul worried about writing the letter and how it would be received, but he rejoiced when he heard of their repentance (2 Cor. 7:6-). His attitude and actions proved him to be a friend.

Why do you suppose we often excuse ourselves from all attempts to restore the lost (Gal. 6:1). We know we should; we know it would be a kindness. It is NOT easy! Why do we not reason with our neighbors who are not Christians? We claim to be a friend but we ignore their greatest need — salvation from sin. We dread saying, I fear you are going to be lost. We keep quiet and let them go undisturbed to hell. With friends like us they dont need enemies. Joe Fitch