Good Thursday Everyone,
Over the last several days we’ve looked at various aspects of friendship, constancy, carefulness, candor… today we consider this fourth and final virtue of friendship, counsel.
Proverbs 27v9 “The pleasantness of one’s friend springs from his earnest counsel.”
This phrase earnest counsel, the word earnest comes from the heart and the word counsel means secrets. It means to tell someone a secret. It means to confide in somebody.
Have you ever had lunch with a friend or talked over the phone and you open up to them on some very emotionally vulnerable areas? And later you reflect on the intensity and importance of that conversation, being confronted in areas where change is necessary, being encouraged and comforted in areas of difficulty and weakness… scripture seems to indicate that these conversations are special and unique to friendship.
If you see your therapist or your pastor they may give good counsel and help you but they won’t open up to you in a self revealing way, not in the way friends do. There is a type of earnest counsel that only a close friend can give you, counsel you desperately need. The type of counsel that is so important you won’t become the person you need to be without it, thats the importance of true friendship. There are two aspects to this counsel. It’s pleasant and confrontational…
“As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” Proverbs 27v17
In a friendship where there is intimacy and transparency and you’re letting one another see to the bottom of you and you’re having honest talk, the counsel won’t always be reassuring and comforting neither will it always be challenging and clashing, too much of either would not be helpful. But a healthy balance of comfort and confrontation the kind of counsel a friend gives will help you become the person you’re supposed to be.
Being a friend and receiving a friend means I can trust and listen to their counsel. I decide who I will trust and listen to but once that is established I need to invite and welcome the earnest counsel of a trusted friend. Let me ask a pointed question:
Are you willing to listen to your friends? Would you’re friends describe you as approachable and humble enough to listen?
If you don’t know the answer to that question… then my challenge for you is to ask your friends giving them permission to speak honestly. If you’re reading this and you know you’ve closed your heart to earnest counsel, I would pray you have people in your life you’d be willing to listen for without real friends you are probably missing out on a lot of good the Lord wants to bring into your life.
Lets fight against isolation, loneliness and the pride that keeps us from pursuing real friends!