Links Daily Devotional

Uncommon friendship

Wounds from a friend can be trusted… (Proverbs 27:6, NIV)

Golf is a wonderful game, partly made so by the fact that you can enjoy it with so many different people. Because we each play the course first, and because the handicap system allows us to fairly play one another despite our differing abilities, we can choose our friends in the game for who they are above and beyond what they can do. That, friends, is sweet, both in the classic and the contemporary senses of the word.

This also may be the reason why we work hard at bringing along our friends from other walks of our life. When we’re comfortable with someone, we want them to share what we enjoy.

One of the things we cannot escape as men and women walking the earth is relationship with others. We’re not positioned to choose all of these connections; but those people we can choose, we call friends. Which leads to this aching riddle: Why are we so often poor in our choices? Why do we attach ourselves to people who lead us into misery?

In his proverbs, Solomon offered a powerful observation about the kind of friend we would all like to have. Its three parts comprise today’s verse. Let’s look at them:

Friend. In the heart of this line, we find a friend. Solomon was writing about someone whose company he enjoyed. Any of us would say this is true of someone we call “friend.”

Trusted. What set this person apart as a desirable friend, however, was that he could be trusted. I might start by calling someone with whom I play golf a “friend” based on our common love for the game, but if I discover this person cheats or tells lies about me, I would likely drop the label of endearment. A person who cannot be trusted is hard to call a friend.

Wounds. But here is the curious thing, when a person can be trusted, they may even cause me pain or discomfort and I would not stop calling them friend. As another who sins like me, they may wound me in error, with no malice intended. I can discern this wound as painful but not enduring; I can forgive my friend as one who has shown me repeatedly that he is really trustworthy. Or he may “wound” me by telling me something that my spirit needs to hear but that my ego resists. These are corrections, again from one who can be trusted, and they are meant to help me take the next strong step.

When it comes time to make friends, do not hesitate to start by finding common ground around things you both enjoy. But move to the uncommon in any relationship: find friends who are so trustworthy that even the “wounds” they deliver have surgeon-like purpose in making you better.

Jeff Hopper
November 13, 2013
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