Do you have friends? Do you have people in your life who are there for you when you need them the most? People who hang out with you, help you through a crisis, listen to you vent, and put you in your place even when it hurts? Hold up; aren’t friends supposed to agree on everything?! I have learned recently from three friends how blessed I am to have people who are willing to put me in my place.
The gift of friendly wounds
Proverbs 27:6 tells us, “Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy.” The wounds that come from true friends might not always seem like gifts. In fact, they might even feel like insults or attacks in the moment. Why?
Friendships are established on mutual interests and ideas. So, when a friendship is in its early stages of development, you agree on practically everything. However, as with any relationship, you’ll eventually come to a disagreement, and often those disagreements feel like attacks to the foundation of the relationship. But disagreements with friends are actually building blocks to becoming a better person, and a true friend will give you those building blocks when the time is right.
Friends who wound
I recently had conversations with three friends who all expressed their disagreements with me regarding various issues. I was discussing with one friend a disagreement I had with Carrie, and he told me, “She’s right.” I couldn’t believe it; so much for masculine loyalty! But I knew deep down, he was right. His “wound” healed another relationship in my life, while his “kisses” (which is actually really gross to think about) would have fueled the contention.
Another friend contacted me recently to check on me and questioned my viewpoint on a certain topic. I said to him, “I take it you don’t agree with me?” His response should go in the Friendship 101 textbook. “Yeah, I do disagree. But it’s okay. Our friendship goes way deeper than opinions on this.”
I was discussing another topic with a friend who pointed out some flaws in my ideas. This is not an easy thing to do, especially in today’s overly-sensitive society.
The fact is, friends won’t agree on everything, but friendship doesn’t have to be sacrificed on the altar of conflict.
The healthy wounds
I want to put a disclaimer here. Not all conflict is good. Sometimes, people confront or “wound” others because they want everyone to think like they do. They are not looking to bring out the best in people but rather trying to conform them to their way of thinking, and this is always wrong. These are not the wounds of a friend.
All three of these conversations wounded something in me that men especially hold dear-the ego. We have to remember that the “wounds” or corrections we receive from friends are a blessing. They are wounds to egos, not our person. They keep us from becoming self-righteous, prideful, and just plain weird. Wounds to our ego are often healthy, and much needed, and we should thank God for friends who keep those egos in check.