Faithful are the wounds of a friend , given in the fear of the Lord; knowing that the pain is intended to mend the defilement of sin that’s gone before. Only as a friend dare we give stripes that, by His grace, let us live. Can you see the scars in the hand that holds the rod? Can you understand that the wounds are hid in God? Every tear that’s shed is accepted through His blood. Faithful are the wounds of a friend. Jesus, You are my friend.
Faithful are the wounds of a friend: Very often the close friends in our lives are more concerned with wounding us and affecting that closeness than telling us we have spinach in our teeth. And yet, only an egotistical person full of pride would resent being informed about a personal flaw he was not seeing in himself.
A true friend will risk the relationship for the betterment of my image and reputation with others. Even though I may, for the moment, feel wounded, after a time of reflection I’ll have to admit that the wounding served a good purpose in my life.
This is the principle upon which faithfulness rests. Faithfulness sees the calm after the storm, sometimes even before the storm arrives. A faithful friend has the confidence to implement the necessary course corrections to help me avoid the consequences of my overlooking or being in denial about the personal flaws I am failing to see and address.
Given in the fear of the Lord: The fear of the Lord has to do with the personal acknowledgement that, even though I may see a pressing need for change in the character, personality, and behavior of someone else, I am nonetheless subject to having my own blind spots. Simply admitting the need for changes in my life which I may not see or understand enables a depth of character and empathy that allows me to temper any critique with compassion and patience. Without these qualities, I will never earn or deserve the right to speak into the life of someone else.
Knowing that the pain is intended to mend: Restoration is always the right motivation when addressing a flaw or failing in the life of someone I sincerely care about. We’ve all felt the sting of rejection that comes as a result of being ‘dealt with’ by someone who is merely tolerating, but not loving us. Yet, even in those circumstances, God may be using the correction to touch something deeper within us that the individual who is addressing us doesn’t even see.
The defilement of sin that’s gone before: Everyone who has lived past the age of accountability has a history of missteps, wrong choices, and negative relationships which have left scars of anger, bitterness, resentment and frustration. The purpose of those faithful wounds is to drain the infection of such things. The heart is very resilient and can quickly recover and even be stronger if the infection of negativity is lanced-dealt with in a timely manner. It’s painful to have secret griefs and resentments exposed to the light of day, but the end result is always relief and renewed hope. The danger in not having these flaws confronted is that, over time, they become part of one’s identity, overshadowing and corrupting whatever else is a positive character trait.
Only as a friend dare we give stripes that, by His grace, let us live: Jesus is spoken of as a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. His life serves as the perfect example of someone who was willing to risk it all to expose and cleanse the poison which dwells in every man’s soul. It’s written of him that He was wounded for our transgressions and bruised for our iniquities. (Isa 53). Often the faithful friend finds himself battered and bruised by the very individuals to whom he is reaching out in love, to help them get past their emotional roadblocks. Words of correction can have the effect of a whip’s lash, causing an outburst of pent up anger, even rage, toward the individual who seems to be intruding into the inner sanctum of one’s latent hostility. Yet, in the context of Divine purpose and intent, the faithful friend sees himself as simply the agent of an Eternal Will which is focused on seeing the restoration of all that it loves and cherishes. In that context, the reward always outweighs the cost or sacrifice.
Can you see the scars in the hand that holds the rod: When I’ve finally come to the end of my self serving denial and insulation, it’s then and only then that I can truly appreciate the reality of all men’s inherited imperfection and weakness. My faithful friend hasn’t sought to wound me because he has no flaws, but because he does.
Can you understand that the wounds are hid in God: There’s a precious verse in the book of Isaiah which says: “In all (our) affliction He was afflicted.” (Isa 63:9). This truth is reiterated in the book of Hebrews when it says: “For this reason He had to be made like (us), in order that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest, in service to God, and that He might make atonement for the sins of the people.” (Heb 2:17). There is an identification and empathy that comes with shared weaknesses. The faithful wounds of a friend always reflect this reality, whether consciously or unconsciously, because every life is connected one way or another to what God has given us in His Son.
Every tear that’s shed is accepted through His blood: For those who don’t acknowledge God, either through ignorance or unbelief, the reality of human suffering is an eternal enigma and conundrum. It’s only in the light of His eternal purpose that it begins to make any sense. The older I get, the more I understand that the entirety of a human life is merely one’s childhood, and that true maturity and completeness is only attained when one passes through physical death into eternity. It’s only then that we’ll see and know as we are seen and known.
The book of James declares that the many and various testings and trials we go through, the faithful wounds of a Friend, are purposeful and not random. Our Faithful Friend’s intent is the perfecting of our faith and character. In this light we can testify that, truly, faithful are the wounds of a friend.