Have you been faithful to wound your friends?????? What kind of question is that, you may ask. Well, the scriptures say, “Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but the kisses of an enemy are abundant.” (Proverbs 27: 6)
When we examine what it means to wound a friend we are are not talking about a careless act of saying or doing something out of a fleshy nature, though that happens quite often. What the Word is eluding to is an intentional act or conversation that lovingly corrects somebody you care for.
Correcting a friend usually makes for an awkward situation so many people opt out of saying or doing anything helpful. Kisses of the enemy refers to either a lack of response or a passive one. Look at a few examples:
1.) A friend told me that she and her husband fought all the time because she refused to have dinner ready for him when he got home from work. He worked 10 hours a day, 6 days a week but helped with the house chores in the evenings and did the yard work on his day off. She was a stay home wife. Her argument was that she was taking online classes and that she should not have to cook every night.
Knowing how stressful it is to study it was difficult to wound my friend. I wanted to sympathize with her and tell her that he was being unreasonable. But, that would have not helped her take responsibility for her part of their relationship. So, I chose to empathize with her instead. I told her that I could see how overwhelmed she was feeling and that I would feel that way too if I was trying to get through school and keep up with chores. Then, I helped her see the truth. “If your husband doesn’t provide financially you would need to go get a job and maybe not be able to take classes.”
I had to love her…wound her…by telling her that. I also told her that cooking didn’t have to be difficult. I brain stormed a few tips on meal planning and encouraged her to take care of the one that was taking care of her. She accepted the counsel though it caused a little pain.
2.) A friend told me about her 6 year old child who was not listening to her. The boy would not come when called in from outside. He wouldn’t wash up before dinner or go to bed when he was told to. The mom punished every offense by yelling and spanking. That seemed to make the boy’s behavior worse which in turn made mom’s responses more intense.
Some friends would sympathize and say, “That boy just needs a good whooping”. But as most of us know…that only makes things progressively worse and that is not good for the parent or child. I responded with empathy and said, “I can see why you feel like yelling and spanking. I would probably feel the same way. But, let’s look at a better way of handling this power struggle.”
I went on to explain how to speak to the child in a quiet, calm voice and to offer the boy a choice so he could learn to make better decisions. For instance: “When you come inside when you are called you will be allowed to go outside again tomorrow.” “I will serve your dinner after your hands are washed.” The option is implied and the parent has the power to teach without yelling or spanking.
When it comes to going to bed it is best to change the requirement to going to the bedroom. Let the child stay up as long as he wants to (in his bedroom) but then wake him up when you want him to get up. (You can be creative here…play the radio, play the piano, or whatever makes the kind of noise to wake him up.) He will learn to go to sleep at an early hour after he experiences tiredness during the day time. And don’t raise your voice…all he will learn is that you are mad…he will not hear anything else.
3.) A neighbor told me about a time when his friend’s wife got really upset with him for eating a piece of sausage. It seems he had been invited to have breakfast at his buddy’s house and was asked by the man’s wife how many pieces of sausage he wanted. He told her no meat…just eggs and grits.
He and his buddy sat at the table chatting while she prepared and served their food family style. When she sat down with them they passed the serving dishes around the table to take their portions. When the sausage tray was passed my neighbor took a piece. The problem was, the woman had fixed only 4 pieces, just enough for her and her husband and now there was only one left for her.
My neighbor expressed to me that she got really mad at him about that sausage and wouldn’t speak to him. Many people would have agreed with him that she was being too sensitive. However, I wanted to love him enough to tell him the truth which was, “Let your yea be yea and your nay be nay.”
There have been times that I have turned food down and then when it is put right in front of me I want to change my mind. The problem is, when somebody is cooking to order and you change your mind…? Somebody who made a conscious decision to say yes will be cheated.
What would you say about any of these scenarios? It is easy to go along with the one sharing the problem but it is not loving them to allow them to excuse their own behavior when it is wrong. When we are not loving we are allowing the enemies of love to take over. Those enemies are the kisses of the enemy, typically called guilt or fear. Read about them in my book, Character Blocks, chapter 6.
In another chapter, The Love Walk, you will read a definition of love. It is a two sided coin that explains what love is and what it does. On one side of the coin says to love yourself and on the other side it says to love the other person. Or in other words…doing that which is best for you and for them.
May you consider how you are responding to those whom you love.