"Faithful are the wounds of a friend..." Proverbs 27:6
In our house, we call them "spiritual black eyes". It's when a trusted friend delivers a powerful right hook of truth even while consoling and comforting. It seems counter intuitive to kick or punch a man (or woman) when they're down, but for me, a few short years ago, it was literally a life saving tactic.
I was reminiscing with a good friend about that just recently. Over the course of two years or so, I was knocked down and wounded through a series of events that occurred in the last place I ever thought possible. My faith was shaken. My faith in people almost non existent. For months, I carried around my imaginary torch and pitchfork, demanding holy justice for the mistreatment I suffered. I was angry, discouraged, and in a tremendous amount of pain.
On one particularly difficult day, I sat in the living room of my friend, rehashing the painful events yet again. Like she always does, she listened intently to what I was saying, even acknowledging and validating my feelings. But on this day, my friend decided to administer a different kind of "comfort". She decided to deliver the above mentioned spiritual right hook, squarely in the center of my self-pity. It threw me for a loop and I left that day feeling quite sore at my now "former friend". But by the time I got home, I realized that was just what I needed to pull me out of the pit I found myself in. It wasn't easy to hear her words, but the Lord used them to begin a much needed healing process. It truly was a life saving conversation and I wouldn't be here writing a post about it today had it not been for her courageous actions.
There's another verse that says, "A friend loves at all times, and a brother (or sister) is born in adversity." (Proverbs 17:17). This kind of love is not the love of this world. It's a love born of the Spirit of God. It's a love that manifests itself both in the embrace of a comforting word AND in the one-two punch of a much needed "attitude adjustment".
This kind of friendship doesn't happen overnight. It's cultivated over time. Trust is built and earned not automatically established. It's given as a gift from one person to another.
A friendship like this is a gift from God. I prayed long and hard for the one I'm fortunate to have. I'm thankful for it. I'm thankful for her.