Thursday, February 7, 2019

The Wounds of a Faithful 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 fifteen 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
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 for just a bit" sign.

Instead of his hand going down,
like I had hoped it would,
his mouth started doing the talking for him.

I have something to tell you!!!!"

"I know, sweet heart.
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?

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."

"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.

all reports were linking my head
with this bizarre sighting!

I immediately headed
for the nearest mirror.
And you know what I saw?


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.

But be doers of the word,
and not hearers only,
deceiving yourselves.
For if anyone is 
a hearer of the word
and not a doer,
he is like a man
observing his natural face
in a mirror;
for he observes himself,
goes away,
and immediately forgets
what kind of man he was.
~James 1:22-24

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.

As iron sharpens iron,
so a man 
sharpens the countenance
of his friend.
~Proverbs 27:17

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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