Sunday, January 18, 2015

The Wounds of A True Friend~

As I gazed into my mirror, curling iron in hand, I was reminded of a conversation I had with a straightforward second grader over ten years ago. I can still hear his soft spoken voice, although the words he spoke were anything but soft to my ears or my ego.

Each morning, I would read a short devotion to my class. I was right in the middle of the reading for this particular day, when out of the corner of my eye, I saw a hand shoot up, signaling to all that this youngster had something to say. And boy, did he!

Not wanting to deviate from the spiritual lesson I was sharing with these young hearts, I smiled at this student, assuring him I had seen his hand. Then, I did some hand talking of my own as I gave him the "hold that thought" sign. Instead of his hand going down, like I had hoped, his mouth started doing the talking for him.

"Teeeeeeeeeeeeacher, I have something to tell you!!!!"

"I know, honey. Can it please wait until after we finish our devotion?"

"No, Ma'am. You're gonna wanna hear about this!!!!"

"Ok. What do you want to tell me?"

"There is a gray hair sticking straight up on the top of your head. I can see it from way back here!"

He was right about one thing. If I did indeed have a gray hair standing straight up on the top of my head, I would definitely want to know about it. But, me? A gray hair? No. This was where he had made his mistake.

"Thank you for sharing that with me, but I think you must be mistaken. You see, I don't have any gray hair yet, honey."

"Oh, yes you do!" The remark came from a student sitting on the opposite side of the classroom. "I see it, too!"

Within seconds, the room was flooded with eyewitness accounts of a gray hair spotting in our classroom. Unfortunately, all reports were linking my head with this bizarre sighting!

I immediately headed for the nearest mirror. And you know what I saw? Yep! A gray hair standing straight up on the top of my head. No wonder this boy had seen it. It was proudly proclaiming it's arrival in grand fashion. As it stood tall, reflecting every bit of light in that classroom, it wasn't any wonder it had caught their attention. After all, who could miss THAT?! Uhhhhhh, obviously me. Until this honest, straightforward little boy had so bluntly pointed it out to me, I had been totally oblivious to it.

Don't fool yourself into thinking that you are a listener when you are anything but, letting the Word go in one ear and out the other. Act on what you hear! Those who hear and don't act are like those who glance in the mirror, walk away, and two minutes later have no idea who they are, what they look like.
~ James 1:22-24, The Message

I had looked in my mirror that very morning and had failed to see what others could see so plainly. I wonder how many times I have looked at my reflection through the pages of God's word, only to be blinded to my own sins. How often has my pride kept me completely in the dark about my true spiritual condition, while those around me can spot my need for repentance a mile away?

The truth hurts and is never easy on our ears, our ego or our heart, and yet how we should covet the honest words of a faithful friend. The words of truth that bring confession, dropping us to our knees and into the hands of our forgiving God.

Nathan was that kind of friend to David. Thinking his sin of adultery with Bathsheba and the consequential prearranged murder of her husband on the battle field were well hidden and out of sight, Nathan confronted him with words that cut to the very heart of David.

"You are that man!"

David confessed.

God forgave.

Then, David continued his journey, pursuing the heart of God.

The truth hurts. There is no getting around that. But, truth also sets us free. The pain has a distinct purpose; to open our eyes to the real us, and our need for a real God.

Iron sharpens iron; so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend [to show rage or worthy purpose].
~ Proverbs 27:17 Amplified

When truth is given to us, we have a choice to make.
We can resist it and in anger turn away from it.
Or, like David,
we can run to it,
embrace it,
be broken by it,
and be all the closer to God for it.

Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.
 ~ Proverbs 27:6

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