The pleasantness of a friend springs from their heartfelt advice. Proverbs 27:9
“My dear friend, sometimes you sound holier than you really are.”
Those words were leveled with a direct gaze and gentle smile. Had they come from someone other than a close friend and mentor whose discernment I highly valued, my feelings might have been hurt. Instead, I winced and laughed at the same time, knowing that while his words “hit a nerve,” he was also right. Sometimes when I talked about my faith, I used jargon that didn’t sound natural, which gave the impression that I wasn’t being sincere. My friend loved me and was trying to help me be more effective in sharing with others what I genuinely believed. Looking back, I see it as some of the best advice I ever received.
“Wounds from a friend can be trusted,” Solomon wisely wrote, “but an enemy multiplies kisses” (Proverbs 27:6). My friend’s insights demonstrated the truth of that counsel. I was grateful he cared enough to tell me something I needed to hear, even though he knew it might not be easy to accept. Sometimes when someone tells you only what they think you want to hear, it isn’t helpful, because it can keep you from growing and developing in vital ways.
Candor can be kindness when measured out with genuine, humble love. May God give us the wisdom to receive it and impart it well, and so reflect His caring heart.
Why is it difficult for us to sometimes receive good but hard advice? How has someone been candid with you in a helpful and loving way?
Abba, Father, thank You for speaking truth to me through Scripture. Please help me to receive and give advice well by relying on You to lead me.
The book of Proverbs provides general insights into facing life’s challenges and is built on the important principle that “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Proverbs 9:10). Why is this so critical? As the Creator, our God is best equipped to counsel us on how to live well within His world. So to begin the pursuit of wisdom, we must begin with a right attitude toward Him—a healthy respect or reverence. As pastor and teacher Warren Wiersbe wrote, “The better you know God, the keener will be your knowledge and discernment when it comes to the decisions of life.” Wisdom is the proper use of knowledge, and there’s no better source for knowledge than the One who is, in fact, the Source of all good things.