Journal Proverbs 27 (all references are from the ESV; changes in punctuation are mine)

Scripture:  A quartet on Friendship:

 

“Better is open rebuke than hidden love.” (Prov 27:5)

“Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy.” (v 6)

“Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.” (v 17)

“Oil and perfume make the heart glad, and the sweetness of a friend comes from his earnest counsel.” (v 9)

 

Observation: After all the emphasis on obtaining wisdom, controlling the tongue, recognizing fools from not-fools, developing and exercising discernment of another’s ability to accept instruction, it looks like the Holy Spirit supplies a probable target of His Instruction: Developing Biblical Friendship.

 

Analysis: I think one of the most difficult leaps that we have is Developing Biblical Friendships.

I have often wondered why that is.  It would seem that church folks should have a Center, a Focal point to celebrate and that is Jesus.

And yet….to celebrate Jesus I have observed in me (at least) that I must “shift into Christian gear” to go into “fellowship.”  Way easier to talk about stuff and not involve Christ.  I know about sharing life and it is Right.  And Good.  It develops candid behavior and transparency.  Even better, it is the road to developing Humility.

Here is something I developed several years ago: “Be honest, open, candid with honorable concern, merciful practice, and with fierce personal transparency.”  I came up with this during a particular time noticing how “accountablity” was being practiced—and how “accountability” became “management”.

From my perspective, the difficulty in the practice of “accountability” is the possible lack of developing deep and abiding friendships.  Deep and abiding friendships are a function of time invested and mutual experiences.  I think it is hard to have deep friendships that do not have blood, sweat, and tears participation involved.  My tag line describes that kind of friendship.

My Christianity should flow from my everyday being…and be noticeable by others.  I should not be one way as a businessman, one way as a husband/father, another way as a neighbor, and still another as a churchgoer.  And, if I want to drill it down even more, an example could be: one way as a writer of this stuff and another kind of guy when I am driving.

Don’t let the “shift” into Christian gear be evident…let it be non-existent.

We all need a friend.  That kind of friend that is closer than a brother.  A friend that takes years and years to develop.  That kind of guy that can stand beside, arms on my shoulders and not have to say a word to show the Love of Christ.

That person is a special gift of Grace.

Prayer:  Lord, I appreciate you showing me how Prov 27 could be talking about friendships.  If I thought about it more, Prov 27 could be showing me something about child rearing or something else.  Still, it is neat how these thoughts came together.

Thank you for the men in my life.  They are a gift.

Thank you for my wife.  She is really a gift to me, a gift of Grace whom You artfully pulled the wool over her eyes when she said, “I do.”  She is still blinded and loves me.  I am grateful.

AMEN

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