Last night I saw a facebook “flair” that read
“Real friends stab you in the front!”
I posted a comment in reply that “REAL friends do not stab you at all!”
Today I was thinking about that…and realized that some folks may have a different perspective. Some may still be nursing the hurt they felt when true friends told them things that they might not have wanted to hear but needed to hear.
We are instructed in Scripture to correct a friend when they are straying. Contrary to what some of us have been taught to believe, it is not unloving to rebuke someone that we love if they are doing something wrong.
“If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him.”
“Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent.”
(see also 2 Timothy 4:2, Titus 2:15)
If we love our friend…and see them making choices that will bring ruin to their life…then how can we stand by and watch them destroy themselves while we remain silent? That is not love.
As I pondered this question…wondering if this is what it means to “stab someone in the front”…but I don’t think so. You see…saying something to a friend who needs to hear it for their benefit (not self-righteous condemnation…but loving correction) is more akin to surgery.
Stabbing intends to do harm. Surgery intends to bring healing.
Our REAL friends will not stab us at all…but there may be moments of “surgery” when we truly need it. Moments that do bring pain…but, like the surgical procedures to bring healing to the physical body, are meant to help us, not harm us.
There is a difference.
“The kisses of an enemy may be profuse,
but faithful are the wounds of a friend.”
“He who rebukes a man will in the end gain more favor
than he who has a flattering tongue.”