Have you ever felt like you were in a test and no matter what you did the end result is someone is not happy? Scripture is very clear that we are to give a soft answer, speak kind words & don’t stir up trouble but it would seem that it is inevitable that we will say something and it will be taken wrong or even if it’s a right word, we filter those words through the emotions we feel in that moment. We end up hearing something or reading something through our emotional filters and come out angry, sad, blaming or walking away and not say anything to the person about what you thought you heard or what they meant by their words.
We are asked by scripture to speak the truth in love, love your brother as yourself and encourage each other to mature in the Lord. Maturity isn’t needed in areas of our lives if we have already taken the steps to grow but if there is a weakness in our life, we are responsible to bring that to our brothers and sisters in the Lord in love and truth.
Proverbs 27:6 says: Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.
In the Strong’s Concordance the meanings of these words help to piece the puzzle together.
Kisses means to equip with weapons:–armed, fastening up, attachment.
Deceitful means: to be, abundant:–deceitful, multiply.
Enemy means: to hate, (personally): enemy, foe.
We see that the enemy uses our words to multiply deception either by what we say or what we hear and they become attached to the one receiving or hearing the words and now it equips us with weapons that cause hate and hurt. The enemy twists what was meant for good into something that is used as a weapon to hurt us. It can work both ways if we are not maturing in our walk with God and man.
Faithful means to build up or support, to render (or be) firm or faithful.
Wounds means a wound, to split, that is, wound.
Friend means: to have affection for, (be-) love, like, friend.
A friend is one who will build you up, support you but also be firm with you because they are faithful in their love and affection for you. To split or wound is to separate us from the deception that has attached itself to us and we have grown so accustomed to what we are walking in or believing that we can’t see where it is deceiving us.
Proverbs 27:5 says “Open rebuke is better than secret love.” The Bible says we are to be so faithful to each other that we can openly correct each other and it sets us free from the love of ourselves and the deception we are hanging on to. The word secret means to hide or conceal. The words love or affection can be used in a good sense or a bad sense.
I believe we are being asked at this time more than ever to build each other up in the truth but also in love. Does it mean we will always like what is said…no, deception feels right, sounds right and looks right. That’s why it’s called deception. We must look to the people that are bringing the words and ask ourselves…are they my friend or my enemy? Do we have a personal friendship that should allow us to speak firmly and lovingly into each other’s lives even if it’s not what we want to hear? Building each other up is not just kind, loving affirming words, sometimes building each other up is going to look like correction, instruction & conviction that is training us in righteousness (2 Timothy 3:16).
I’ve seen too many times where relationships are separated because it came to a place where truth in love was needed and it came in the way of correction or instruction and we walk away angry at the person that brought it. Were they a friend? Were they a faithful friend? Were they a loving friend? This is the way to test these trials and see if it is God trying to bring growth or is it the enemy trying to attach himself and his lies and deceive me. Offense is the number one weapon the enemy uses to tear the church and believers apart.
John Bevere, well known worldwide as an author and speaker says in his book “Bait of Satan” that 51% of people will become offended, fall away and will betray one another and hate one another...(Matt. 24:10-13) says our love will grow cold. He says “an offended person will not forgive and when we can’t forgive, we forget what we were forgiven of.”
He goes on to say, “offense causes us to be unable to function properly in our calling (that doesn’t mean a position or office, it means as a Christian) because of wounds and hurts that offenses have caused in our lives. We become handicapped and it hinders us from fulfilling our full potential as a believer. It imprisons countless Christians, severs relationships and widens the existing breaches between us. It is the trap of offense.”
I’ll continue this next month because I feel it is so important as Christians that we truly love each other and not allow offense to separate us from each other or our relationship with God. He won’t walk away from us but it causes us to not walk close to Him when we are offended.
Joppa House of Prayer