It was some time this summer when a dear friend first shared these words with me from Proverbs 27:6.
NLT Wounds from a sincere friend are better than many kisses from an enemy.
NKJV Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.
NIV Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.
HCSB The wounds of a friend are trustworthy, but the kisses of an enemy are excessive.
I was surprised by it at first because she spoke these words of scripture to me over the phone after I apologized for something I had done in our relationship. Something that I felt fully justified in doing and saying in the moment because of how hurt I felt by her, but the next day in the light of Christ had realized my sin and wanted to desperately make it right with her. I couldn't sleep and felt sick over it as I had feared that how I reacted might have destroyed our friendship.
I finally got a call back after leaving a message on her voicemail that said something like, "I don't want another day to end before I get a chance to talk to you." Perhaps this boiling point in our friendship was bound to happen. Some relationships are just more volatile. But the truth is I don't think I had ever been met with so much grace in forgiveness within another relationship on earth. She could hear my heart as I repented and knew our connection in Christ was far deeper than some petty argument. She of course apologized too. Oh how thankful I have been for that day even though initially it caused me so much pain.
You see, ever since then God has repeatedly brought this passage from His Word to my eyes and ears. Today marked the 10th time in less than three months that someone else causally mentioned Proverbs 27:6. Most didn't know where it was found in the Bible and couldn't recall the exact wording but each understood the meaning. People will hurt you. Friends will hurt you. Family will hurt you. But it is far better to be wounded, hurt, disappointed by a fellow heir of our Heavenly Father than to lavish in the excessive deceitful kisses of an "enemy". Our very real Enemy would like nothing more than to divide Christian relationships. Disagreements brew among believers and we have this "how dare they do that to me" feeling in the back our throats so we spew back. But really we should expect that heart ache and division on earth. No one can ever meet all of your needs on earth. Not your spouse. Not your best friend. Not your child. Not your parent. They will fail. They will hurt you. But when our eyes are fully opened to how often we offend God and yet he still loves and forgives us, we can truly love and forgive others.
Proverbs uses the word 'wound' for a reason. There will be pain, but we don't have to let the hurt rule over us. We can let God heal the relationship in a way that kisses never can.