Monday, October 21, 2013

Proverbs 27:6, 9-10, 17 Faithful are the wounds of a friend...

Remember when you were in junior high and you wanted more than anything to be in the “popular crowd?” You wanted to collect friends like candy! And in high school we garnered signatures in our yearbooks like trophies! The reality is, that no matter how many people we knew, most of them were mere acquaintances, not true friends. This chapter of Proverbs talks about the quality of a true friend: 

Faithful are the wounds of a friend;

    profuse are the kisses of an enemy. (vs 6)

Oil and perfume make the heart glad,

    and the sweetness of a friend comes from his earnest counsel. (vs. 9-10)

Iron sharpens iron,

    and one man sharpens another. (vs. 17)

While I am so grateful for the many who have touched my life in real ways {co-workers, neighbors, former students, parents of students, Bible study buddies, church friends}, the reality is that time and distance limit the number of people with whom I have real intimacy - and most of those are family members! But God has given me a special handful of women who truly know the real me. And for some reason, they have stuck around over many years!

I treasure these women! They have been my encouragers and confidantes through many stages of my life. We raised our children together, they cheered me on through years of finishing college and getting my teaching credential (at the age of 42). They watched my girls get married, and rejoiced with me at the births of my grandchildren. They have hung in even when I’ve been unavailable due to my work. And now, we are approaching the Medicare years together!

They have seen me at my worst, and they have been faithful to be truthful to me. When I need counsel, they have given it - even if it was painful to hear. They will tell me if I have spinach in my teeth. They won’t let me go out in public if my zipper is down or my mascara is smeared. They will pass me an Altoid if I need one! And they will redirect me to the LORD and His Word if I need an attitude adjustment.

How we all need the counsel of a godly friend when we are making life changes, or when we are struggling with an issue! I love friends who will challenge me and who will tell me to my face if I’ve hurt them or if I am swerving off of God’s path.

As a teacher of fifth grade girls, I am frequently having to intervene in girlie conflicts. Fifth grade girls can be mean! While boys will punch each other - and then go play basketball together, girls carry grudges and gather others around them to join them in their outrage. So one of the things I am constantly saying to them is, “If you want to have friends and maintain friendships, you need to learn to be VERY forgiving! Know that your friends will let you down over the years and you will let them down, but you need to give them the benefit of the doubt and welcome them back, or you will have NO friends left!”

Thank God today for the special friends He has given you. Then thank them for being so faithful and forgiving over the years! When I think of the many women who have been so dear to me, I thank God that we will have eternity together! We will need all of that time just to get the talking and laughing in!


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