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Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Gentle Wounds

Iron sharpens iron, So one man sharpens another.

Why is it that we question a person's credentials when they critique us

but consider them an expert when they compliment us?

We're really not that different from King Ahab. So how do we determine if we're hearing from Zedekiah or Micaiah?

This week, I had a brother confront me in an area he'd observed. He laid out his argument and presented his concern. As I listened, I was convinced he was well-meaning but dead-wrong. He didn't know me that well. He doesn't see the situation closely enough. He's not aware of the relationship dynamics. While I appreciated his concern for me, I was confident he really had no authority in this situation.

Then he did something unfair...

He quoted Scripture. Not just a "pithy prooftext" here and there. But he quoted Scripture in regard to the issue we were discussing with the original intent of the Biblical author.

And that's when I realized the wound was good. A double-edged sword was being used to extract dead tissue. It may be painful but was beneficial. Yet the compliment without any biblical merit may have no "medicinal value."

[UPDATE: I'm not the only one who feels this way.]


  • At 5:46 AM, Blogger Sam Garber said…

    A very worthwhile observation for sure; prompted a bit of research for your neighbor (uh –me : )) so –I memorized that Proverb “a friend sharpens his friend.” A bit of a word search showed that “another” is probably more accurate than “friend” in this verse. It does annoy me, and is epidemic among blogs, to delete those comments which disagree, and cherish those comments which flatter. That being the case; I do not recommend blogs as being a very credible way to establish opinion, you read the content, you read the comments, and it would appear that there is no dissention from the content, yet there may have been several comments that dissented yet were deleted to protect the views of the blog-master.

    Friends may find it hard to sharpen friends –friends may prefer buttering friends –-acquaintances on the other hand may tell the truth that might sharpen… that’s not a rule of course . . . I’m sure there are friends who don’t always feel the need to pander their friends…

    You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor 7453 as yourself: I am Yahweh. (Leviticus 19:18 ESV)

    With his mouth the godless man would destroy his neighbor 7453, but by knowledge the righteous are delivered. (Proverbs 11:9 ESV)

    Whoever belittles his neighbor 7453 lacks sense, but a man of understanding remains silent. (Proverbs 11:12 ESV)

    The poor is disliked even by his neighbor 7453, but the rich has many friends 157. Whoever despises his neighbor 7453 is a sinner, but blessed is he who is generous to the poor. (Proverbs 14:20-21 ESV)

    Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another 7453. (Proverbs 27:17 ESV)

  • At 7:48 AM, Blogger danny2 said…

    i've deleted two comments in the history of my blog (not counting the weird spam style one i would get from a guy claiming to be the messiah and that he had the game plan for escaping the tribulation...those were just creepy)...one for vulgarity, one because of some issues i wish not to explain on this post.

    in response to your second paragraph...re: the difference between friend and acquaintance.

    i would argue that a "friend" who will only butter and not sharpen is not a friend at all. the model for friendship is to be willing to lay down our lives (john 15). however, a person who will not confront is either a) apathetic about you...they don't really care...not much of a friend, or b) much more concerned with their own comfort and doing all to avoid awkwardness with you...again, rather selfish, not selfless.

    therefore, i would say that the "acquaintance" who is willing to confront may be showing himself to be much more loving and friendly.

    contrary to our american conceptions of love, in the text i linked, micaiah was doing the most loving thing possible for ahab. he was bringing him the truth and not lying to him. zedekiah, on the other hand, said things that made ahab feel better (for a season) but lead to ahab's arrogance and ultimately his death (which did not feel so good.)

    ultimately, ahab had the option of the precision sword of the Word of the Lord, or the blunt force of a spear.

    and ahab did not choose wisely.

  • At 2:57 PM, Blogger Pastor E said…

    Danny - it speaks volumes of your character to post something like this - and I'm not 'buttering' you up in anyway. I appreciate that honesty.

  • At 5:46 PM, Blogger Sam Garber said…

    Right on : )

    I've deleted irrelavent spam from my blog too...

    And about the account of Micaiah: I think of Jeremiah 6:13&14 --when telling the truth he didn't say shalom shalom ---because there would be no shalom for the wicked.

  • At 5:50 PM, Blogger Sam Garber said…

    Right on : )

    I've deleted irrelevant spam too

    It's no good to prophecy shalom when Yahweh's not thinking shalom for Ahab --I just thought of something ---I think Ahab means friend...

  • At 5:54 PM, Blogger Sam Garber said…

    Different Ahab sorry...

    Also I thought my other comment timed out . . . I should get back to doing something : )

  • At 8:28 PM, Blogger barabbas said…

    it's hard to be a 'friend' when you're really a 'friend' to the person you want to be'friend' (if you know what i mean).

    Let me rephrase that:
    It's hard to be honest with a friend. When one opens their heart in honesty to a friend about an area in that friend's life which they are concerned about, or see to be out of character with who they know that friend to be in Christ, they have no assurance that their friendship has the strength to handle such. Every time a person opens their heart it is placed directly into the hands of that friend to do whatever they wish with it! Praise God for true friends who handle one another's hearts gently!


  • At 8:42 PM, Blogger barabbas said…

    so......as i tie my shoe and pull on my cardigan sweater i ask, 'won't you be......my neighbor?'

  • At 7:54 AM, Blogger danny2 said…

    of course, sam...

    by typing "repeat comments" you make it tempting for me to start deleting again!



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