Faithful are the wounds of a friend;
profuse are the kisses of an enemy.
Yesterday pitted a secret unspoken love versus an open reprimand. Today turns the tables to place the reader on the receiving end… and the relationship it defines. How would you define friendship? There is a saying about friendship I found online which is rather pithy:
Being honest may not get you a lot of friends, but it’ll always get you the right ones.
This is a good rewording of the first part of the verse, which begs a few questions with its antipodes: Friend versus enemy; wound versus kisses; and faithful versus profuse. Kisses of an enemy/Wound of a friend? Who wants to get that close? And why would either one act in such a way?
When one is feeling alone and friend-less, it is very tempting to be seduced by the attention of a pretend friend. An unguarded heart (cf. Proverbs 4:23) can be lured into the enticing words and actions of co-workers and neighbors, and draw one’s soul away from those who truly love us.
Wound versus kisses. Hmmm. Watching a friend extract (nee suck out) the poisonous venom of a snake bite through a knife wound in one’s appendage is appreciated more than having someone kiss you as the fatal toxic spreads throughout your body. Enough said.
However, it is the last contrast which redefines all of the other counterpoints in part because the wordings of such harsh extremes force us to discern some of the grey areas we might otherwise overlook. For the Christian, this gets to the nub to define our relationships clearly and begs many questions about our values: We know our enemy. Are we being seduced by the benefits of his friendship, the values he espouses, the ease he promises, the compromise he commends, the shaved-truth he endorses…his “kisses”? We would be wise to ponder, discern and wade through the minefield of temptations, perhaps engage a friend—a true friend—to help us be honest. It might even be considered self-inflicted, but it will define “faithful” wounds.
Further, what are we doing to avail ourselves of every resource which will help us discern the dangers and value the faithful love of our Lord? Devotions? Good idea. Now to prayer.
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Please include the following statement on any distributed copy: By Carroll Wynne. © 2021 Tenth Presbyterian Church. Website: tenth.org