Faithful are the wounds of a friend, But the kisses
of an enemy are deceitful. (Proverbs 27:6)
Jesus never gave relief to people who were under
conviction. When Zaccheus, in remorse for his sin, shared his generous plans
for restitution, Jesus did not say, “Now Zaccheus, the important thing is that
you feel sorry for what you did.” Jesus brought no comfort to him as he dealt
with his sin (Luke 19:1–10). Neither did Jesus excuse disbelief. We never find
Jesus saying, “Well, that’s all right. I know I’m asking you to believe a lot,
and that’s not easy.” On the contrary, Jesus was quick to chastise His
disciples when they failed to believe Him. Jesus loved His friends too much to
condone or comfort them in their sin.
It is possible to be too gentle with your friends.
When a friend is under deep conviction by the Holy Spirit, do you try to give
comfort? Don’t ever try to ease the discomfort of someone whom the Holy Spirit
is making uncomfortable! Be careful not to communicate to your friends that you
find their lack of faith acceptable. You are not acting in true friendship if
you condone disobedience or even if you look the other way. Kisses are far more
pleasant than wounds, yet they can be even more devastating if they lull your
friend into being comfortable with sin.
In our attempt to appease our friends and our
reluctance to share a word from God, we can actually cause great harm. If we
see our friends in danger and do not warn them, God will hold us accountable
for our silence (Ezek. 33:6). Are you a friend of such integrity that you would
risk wounding your friends in order to deter them from their sin?