Charles Lowery complained to his friend about lower back pain. He was seeking a sympathetic ear, but what he got was an honest assessment. His friend told him, I dont think your back pain is your problem; its your stomach. Your stomach is so big its pulling on your back.
In his column for REV! Magazine, Charles shared that he resisted the temptation to be offended. He lost the weight and his back problem went away. Charles recognized that Better is open rebuke than hidden love. Wounds from a friend can be trusted (Prov. 27:56).
The trouble is that so often we would rather be ruined by praise than saved by criticism, for truth hurts. It bruises our ego, makes us uncomfortable, and calls for change.
True friends dont find pleasure in hurting us. Rather, they love us too much to deceive us. They are people who, with loving courage, point out what we may already know but find hard to truly accept and live by. They tell us not only what we like to hear but also what we need to hear.
Solomon honored such friendship in his proverbs. Jesus went furtherHe endured the wounds of our rejection not only to tell us the truth about ourselves but to show us how much we are loved.
Ephesians 4:15 is a New Testament counterpart of Proverbs 27:6. It refers to two virtues that we must learn to keep in balancespeaking the truth and love. The word speaking is actually not an explicit part of the original Greek text, but is translated from a single verb. Some translators have suggested that the verb might better be rendered truthing it or truthifying it in love. The verb, when joined with in love, implies a lifestyle of integrity where truth is united with love. If we emphasize truth without love, then we can brutally hurt another person. On the other hand, if we express love at the expense of truth, we can fail to caringly confront some sin or problem that genuinely needs to be faced.