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wounding friends, kissing enemies

“Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.” – Proverbs 27:6

I don’t like this Proverb. At least at face value. Who wants to be wounded? And who wants kisses from an enemy?

But peel back the layers and you can quickly see not only the truth but the value. Kisses in ancient culture were a common greeting and sign of respect (as is still the case with many cultures today – ok maybe not during corona – but you get the idea.) So an “enemy who multiplies kisses” might be translated as an empty flatterer or someone who acts like they respect you but is really against you. This is dangerous. They might fool us into thinking they’re our friend through their kisses only to later take advantage of us – or worse.

Wounds from a friend, on the other hand, come only from a place of love and desire for our good. A true friend will tell us the hard truth we need to hear even when it hurts while also ensuring at the same moment that their love is not conditional on our response. We can trust that “wound” because we can trust our friend.

So invite your friends to say the hard things to you. Actually say the words, “I want you to always tell me the truth, even if it hurts.” And when you feel the need to share a hard truth with a friend, make sure you’re to be trusted before you do. In this way, you can ensure that your “wound” will ultimately lead to healing and wholeness, not lasting harm. That is, after all, the heart of our God for us.


Grace and Peace,

Pastor Joel

Joel Searby

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