“Faithful are the wounds of a friend, But the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.” Proverbs 27:6 (NKJ)
One of my own sayings that I often use is, “I’d rather be hurt by the truth than follow a pleasant lie.” To me this is essential for surviving in the Kingdom; it should be a no-brainer. Those who call themselves believers are often referred to as seekers of truth, those who follow the light.
If I’m walking in an area of darkness and a brother or sister turns on the light for me, I want to thank them for their faithfulness – as soon as my eyes stop hurting, that is!
I’m all for encouraging others – we all need encouragement – but never let that stop us from speaking the truth in love. Sometimes the truth hurts, but that’s okay; that’s what fellowship is supposed to be about.
The Greek word that is often used for “fellowship” is the word koinonia (Acts 2:42; II Cor. 8:4; Gal. 2:9; Phil. 2:1; John 1:3,6,7). This word means, “partnership, participation or social intercourse … to communicate, communion, distribution, fellowship” (Strong’s 2842). The root word is koinonos which means, “sharer, associate, companion, partaker, or partner” (Strong’s 2844).
As I understand this word, true New Testament fellowship means we all have a share in each others’ lives to both give and receive. That means that all in the kingdom have a responsibility to be real with each other and if that means calling sin sin, then so be it. A partnership means that two or three are less likely to walk in error than one. Partners have a right and an obligation to look out for each other.
“Faithful are the wounds of a friend.” The word used here for “friend” is ahab, which means, “to have affection for … love … like, friend” (Strong’s 157). The word used for “wounds” is petsa, which comes from patsa, which means, “to split, i.e. wound” (Strong’s 6481).
Sometimes we need areas to be split open to allow the poison out. We need the Sword of the Spirit, the Word, to cut off the cancerous growths that the enemy would want to plant on us. The word “faithful” is aman (not amen!) which means “to build up or support; to foster as a parent or nurse … to be firm, faithful, to trust … to be true…” (Strong’s 539).
Let’s string these together. To build up and truly support someone in Christ means to let your wounding of them show your affection and love!
Let’s go back to the “partnership/companionship” idea. For the good of my kids, my wife, business partner or brother in Christ, I may have to risk their rejection of me in order to speak the truth in love. If I violently pushed my child against a wall, that would be assault. If I violently pushed that same child against a wall to keep them from being hit by a bus, I would be a friend whose wounding proved my love.
I want to finish this study with an illustration from the world of trains.
I was reading an article about trackside signs used by railroads years ago. It described a strange sign called a “telltale.” An upright pole stood beside the tracks with a crossbar which extended over the tracks. From this hung a number of whip-like cords, long enough to reach to just above the boxcars.
Before the invention of air brakes, braking a train was a difficult and dangerous job for the brakemen. Each boxcar had a large brake wheel on the top of the car, which had to be turned manually on or off as needed. The brakeman had to jump from car to car, day or night, fog, rain or snow, in order to do his job.
Some of the unavoidable dangers were low bridges and tunnels. Standing on top of a boxcar at night or in a fog when a bridge or tunnel was ahead would be fatal. If the brakeman forgot about that low bridge ahead, the telltale would be his last (although painful) warning to “Hit the deck, now!” I’m sure old-timers could “tell tales” of being hit, hurt and maybe even being “wounded” by this well meaning friend. Having whip marks across your back or a headache was a small wound compared to losing your head and your life.
A telltale wound could be a sign of man’s best friend.
I would rather be hurt by a friend than given kisses by a Judas. Faithful are the telltale wounds of a true friend. Amen and Aman!