Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.
What a strange passage. We don’t usually think of a friend wounding us or of enemies kissing us – except perhaps the kiss of Judas which this passage is obviously prophetically referring to. But sometimes it is only a friend who will wound us.
Tom was being an idiot. He had gotten free from alcohol but decided he could go back to using it sparingly. “I am a new man. I’ve changed.” He would stop off for a drink with the guys after work. One drink stretched into two. Soon his wife and kids never knew when to expect him home. But he wasn’t doing anything “wrong”, he would justify, he never got drunk. Everyone could see the change in Tom but he was a fun guy to be around, no one wanted to risk upsetting him or losing his friendship. They just continued to “multiply kisses” having a great time with him, silently watching him drive his life over a cliff.
Jeff, however, was more concerned about Tom and his family than the opinion of others. He was willing to risk the relationship rather than see Tom continue down the path that had already led to his destruction once before. Jeff confronted Tom, “wounding” him with the truth – “wounds” that could be trusted. Did Tom listen and change or charge ahead to his own destruction?
Some Toms embrace the wound and spare themselves greater hurt later. Often Tom gets upset, accuses Jeff, cuts him out of his life and refuses to listen. The difference? Tom’s heart.
Scripture tells us a fool rejects the pain of correction but a wise man embraces it. (Proverbs 9:7,8; 15:5, 12; 19:25; 28:23 and many others)
Lord, may I be wise enough to know the differences between faithful wounds and the kisses of my enemies. Teach me to embrace wisdom even when it hurts or causes me to “bleed”. Also, Lord, may I be a friend who is willing to “wound” rather than watch a friend throw their life away because I am afraid to offend or risk a relationship or my reputation.
He who listens to a life-giving rebuke will be at home among the wise. He who ignores discipline despises himself, …
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