The Friendship Revolution Pt.6


Good Wednesday Friends, 

I wanted to share the collaborative effort of those who contributed to the friendship virtues discussion, here are the results from yesterday… 

A friend is…. trustworthy, feels, is easy, honest, there, encouraging, laughs and smiles with you, a soul mate, loyal, supportive, constant, joyful, understanding, empathetic, does life with you, present, loves at all times, a listener, fun, forgiving, kind, patient, intentional to pursue the people they care about, is vulnerable, dependable, interested, encouraging, a friend values your well being at a cost to themselves.

From this list of virtues on friendship I’m wondering if our answers to this question are a projection of the type of friend we are or the virtues we desire in a friend or a combination of both? Heres the question I want us to ask ourselves today…

1.What of the above virtues are strengths you believe you possess? 

2.What areas are weaknesses in your role as a friend?

I’d love to get feedback on this, I thinks its helpful to be able to acknowledge strengths as well as weaknesses in the type of friend we are to others… so I’ll go first: 

My strengths as a friend… I’m easy, honest and vulnerable

My weakness as a friend… being intentional to pursue the people I care about, being encouraging and patient.  (lets hear it y’all where are your strengths and weaknesses) 

As we have been doing over the last several days we are looking at the virtues of a friend taken from the wisdom writer in Proverbs, we have identified the 4 marks of friendship as constancy, carefulness, candor and counsel… today we’ll look at candor as the mark of a “true friend” (Thank you Tim Keller) 

In dealing with candor in “true friendship” we look to the words of the wisdom writer… 

Better is open rebuke than hidden love. Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses. Proverbs 27v5-6

As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another. Proverbs 27v17

Whoever rebukes a person will in the end gain favor rather than one who has a flattering tongue. Proverbs 28v23

Those who flatter their neighbors are spreading nets for their feet. Proverbs 29v5

Truth telling i.e. “Better is open rebuke than hidden love, wounds of a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.” These metaphors are vivid and deliberately paradoxical, friendly wounds, wounding kisses. The old king James says it, “faithful are the wounds of a friend.” What are friendly wounds? A friendly wound is a metaphor for words that your friend needs that are going to be painful for that friend to hear and yet they have to hear them. 

Now what if you are afraid to say, what really needs to be said? Then you are not a friend. Look at the parallelism. This is the way to understand Hebrew poetry. 

The second clause of verse five talks about hidden love, that is a metaphor that communicates, this is a person who thinks you’re loving by hiding the truth. You say, “oh I love that person too much to confront them, oh I love that person too much to tell them the truth.” But look at the Proverb, hiding, covering up the truth out of love is the same as the work of an enemy. “Better is open rebuke than hidden love” 

It’s parallel to the second clause, “an enemy multiplies kisses.” It’s just as bad as Judas betraying with a kiss. Why? Because if you say, “oh I love the person too much to tell them the truth”, what you really mean is I love myself too much to go through that. You’re not being a friend. 

Look at Proverbs 29v5, “whoever flatters his neighbors is spreading nets for his feet.” Now what does that mean? If instead of telling your friend whats wrong with him or her, so that the person gets an accurate view of both their strength and weaknesses, if you don’t do that, you are setting them up for a disastrous life as much as if you are laying trap for their feet. Why? Because they are going to make their decisions on the basis of what they think they are, who they are, and they are going to be making one disastrous decision after another because they are out of touch with reality because of their so called friends. 

And by the way the richer, the more powerful you are, the more likely you are to have friends that are doing this. And they are not really your friends, you need to get some real friends. Notice how hard this is… carefulness and candor. Candor I’m telling you the truth yet carefulness is I’m so emotionally connected that the painful words that I’m going to tell you are going to create pain for me! This is the reason why it’s so hard to be a friend. You can either be careful and just shut up or you can be candid and not really care. Either of those ways aren’t painful but to be a friend is constant pain because you have to be both careful and candid and constant. 

Therein lies the reason you can’t be this for too many people or you’d be an emotional wreck all the time, I think each life can handle 2 to 4 of these types of friendships at a time, after that you’re just emotionally drained. 

Ok, now give me feedback…  

1.What of the above virtues are strengths you believe you possess? 

2.What areas are weaknesses in your role as a friend?