Whose Got Your Back?
“The only way to have a friend is to be one.” –Ralph Waldo Emerson
Did you ever watch the television show, American Idol? If so, you’ve seen how each season begins with a trip around the country, holding auditions for contestants. And you’ve seen how, each season, some who come to audition really have no business trying.
It makes for great television—a girl squawking out a painful attempt at a Whitney Houston cover or an unfortunate guy trying to deliver his own rendition of a Michael Jackson classic, complete with a laughable moonwalk.
We watch and we wince. You have to wonder: Shouldn’t someone who loves this kid have pulled him or her aside and told them the truth? “Sweetheart, singing isn’t your gift. Have you tried soccer? How about fly-fishing?”
A truthful word—even if it’s a rebuke—when it comes from a friend, is a form of love.
It might be painful at the moment, but it’s profitable in the long run. When rebuke comes from a friend, you can trust the source. You know they have your best interests at heart.
The book of Proverbs, you know, is full of wisdom. Much of it has to do with the importance of true friendship, accepting and giving rebuke. Consider a few examples:
“Folly brings joy to one who has no sense, but whoever has understanding keeps a straight course. Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed” (Proverbs 15:21-22).
“Whoever heeds life-giving correction will be at home among the wise. Those who disregard discipline despise themselves, but the one who heeds correction gains understanding. Wisdom’s instruction is to fear the Lord, and humility comes before honor” (Proverbs 15:31-33).
“Better is open rebuke than hidden love. Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses” (Proverbs 27:5- 6).
“Perfume and incense bring joy to the heart, and the pleasantness of a friend springs from their heartfelt advice” (Proverbs 27:9).
We all need friends—friends to support and encourage us, friends to share the burdens of this life with us, friends to gently (or even firmly) confront us from time to time. Friends can fill our sails with wind. They can also look us in the eye and suggest, “How about fly-fishing?”
My prayer this week – Father, thank you for the blessing of true friendship. Thank you for my friends, who speak into my life lovingly. May I be a true and loving friend in return! Will you give me the grace and courage to live up to the high calling—that of being a friend?