Saturday, April 04, 2009

Cafe Chat - Blessed Wounds

"Better is open rebuke than hidden love. Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses." Proverbs 27:5-6 (NIV)

Have you ever been on the receiving end of words that wound? If you're like me, you'd probably rather stop up your ears and whistle the tune from the Andy Griffith show than listen to these words. Something I have come to realize lately is that when these words are said in love and with love, we do need to hear them and be thankful for them.
Close friends can be honest with each other and speak the truth in love, even when it hurts.
Solomon knew this and was so wise in sharing this with us. It is far better to have things out in the open than hidden.
Kim, at Cafe Chat, has caused me to think about this tough topic today. She writes, "So today, I ask you to share a time when a friend may have wounded you by speaking hard words to you, and even though you were hurt you realized it was the best and most loving thing he/she could have done. (If you can share the specifics that would be great, but if not feel free to use generalities)."

While I can't share the specifics, I can say that this week I have been on the receiving end of some of the toughest words a woman should have to hear from her best friend. I cried, I ached, I grieved. And the I realized how right my friend was in sharing the words with me. I purposed to change and my heart was open to make some much needed changes in my life.
Out in the Open
I didn't realize how concealed the words had been and how hidden they were. Once they were out in the open, I had to deal with them. I couldn't whistle the Andy Griffith show's opening tune forever, after all. Much as I wanted to, pleaseandthankyouverymuch!
The Hebrew word for open is galah. It is a verb that means:
1) to uncover, remove
a) (Qal)
1) to uncover
2) to remove, depart
3) to go into exile
b) (Niphal)
1) (reflexive)
a) to uncover oneself
b) to discover or show oneself
c) to reveal himself (of God)
2) (passive)
a) to be uncovered
b) to be disclosed, be discovered
c) to be revealed
3) to be removed
c) (Piel)
1) to uncover (nakedness)
a) nakedness
b) general
2) to disclose, discover, lay bare
3) to make known, show, reveal
d) (Pual) to be uncovered
e) (Hiphil) to carry away into exile, take into exile
f) (Hophal) to be taken into exile
g) (Hithpael)
1) to be uncovered
2) to reveal oneself
Talk about becoming transparent! The truth was exposed and revealed in a personal way that I would have preferred to stay hidden; however, that was not God's plan for me. These words opened and removed something that needed to be revealed. Had the words remained concealed and hidden away, I would never have stepped out on faith.
Don't Hold Back
The Hebrew word for hidden is cathar. Also a verb, it means:
1) to hide, conceal
a) (Niphal)
1) to hide oneself
2) to be hidden, be concealed
b) (Piel) to hide carefully
c) (Pual) to be hidden carefully, be concealed
d) (Hiphil) to conceal, hide
e) (Hithpael) to hide oneself carefully
Words or rebuke, especially when true, are not meant to be hidden between friends. Letting them remain concealed or carefully hidden, tucked away deep in your heart causes them to fester. When they are left to fester, they reach a point to where they boil over. Festering wounds become infected. You can't put a bandaid on a bullet wound and expect it to just get better, can you? It's far better to have the bullet removed and the wound treated. That ugly bullet, out in the open, cannot cause infection in your body anymore once it's gone. The same is true with words that wound yet still need to be said.
The Faithfulness of a Friend
I think the keys in the words being receptive are that first they are from someone you love and second that they are spoken in love. No other motive. No intention to wound you or hurt you permanently, no intention to harm you emotionally or physically, but to bring you back to the way things should be.
A faithful friend can speak words these words. The Hebrew word for faithful is 'aman. This, too, is a verb. It means:
1) to support, confirm, be faithful
a) (Qal)
1) to support, confirm, be faithful, uphold, nourish
a) foster-father (subst.)
b) foster-mother, nurse
c) pillars, supporters of the door
b) (Niphal)
1) to be established, be faithful, be carried, make firm
a) to be carried by a nurse
b) made firm, sure, lasting
c) confirmed, established, sure
d) verified, confirmed
e) reliable, faithful, trusty
c) (Hiphil)
1) to stand firm, to trust, to be certain, to believe in
a) stand firm
b) trust, believe
Support, confirm, be faithful, stanidng firm, trusting, to believe in....these and all the words above should be what your friend is to you. Certainly we have different levels of friendship. I am better friends with my BFF (that's best friend forever for those of you who don't know teenspeak) than I am with a co-worker. Although I might have a form of friendship with my co-worker, to the point that we'd talk about our children and our husbands, I am not close enough for her to know more intimate details of my life, such as I have three chronic illnesses or that I even write. My BFF knows about my illnesses and reads my blog. (Hi, Harriett!) If my co-worker told me that I should change shades of make-up, I admit that I would be taken aback. What does she know about my color preference? Who is she to tell me my face is orangey? If my BFF told me that I needed to change shades of make-up, I would say, "Ouch! Why?" I'd be more receptive to her saying, "Because if you went one shade lighter you wouldn't be able to see the make-up line on your jaw!" A faithful friend will tell you things like this and you'll love her for it. And my make-up is fine, isn't it, Harriett?
I said all that to say that I have a level of trust with her that I don't with my co-worker. Although it's great to gab as we're standing in the hallway, I don't tell her I think she's a potty mouth and should curtail it. If Harriett's tongue got loose, I'd know something was wrong and could say, "Would you kiss your Momma with that mouth?" and she wouldn't be offended in the least.
Yes, we are faithful friends.
Wounds vs. Kisses

Faithful friends will wound you, bruise you, with their words and should do so on occasion. If they don't and everything is always fine, what's up with that? Harriett told me the other day whatever I did not to pray for patience. I flinched when she said that because I don't believe there is anything we shouldn't pray for. I told her that and once she explained her point of view we were good. I suspect we still disagree over this, but it's okay. She has a right to her own opinion and I have a right to mine.
Enemies or people who are not faithful friends will skirt so far around the truth that they won't ever rebuke you. You'll also never know where you stand with them. They're kissing you all the time. Those kisses are deceitful. Look at this interesting definition. The Hebrew word for deceitful is `athar. It means:
1) to be abundant
a) (Niphal) to be plentiful
b) (Hiphil) to multiply, become abundant
Ya'll, I met this woman one time who had total recall about everything you ever said. Not in a bad way, mind you. She would chat you up big time. "The last time we spoke you said that you had an inner ear infection, how is that, by the way? Did you get the 3 cards I sent or the message I left on your answering machine? You have an 8 year old daughter. Now I know you are not old enough to have one that old, so what's the story with that? Oh, you're a step-mom! How is that working out for you? I heard that 1 out of 10 step-parents...oh, I'm glad you're not going through that. How is your Mother doing? Didn't you say she had blood pressure problems?" Um, yes, 3 weeks ago. How did she remember that? It was sweet but very very insincere. How did I know? Because as soon as she finished with me she moved on and recited everything that had happened since she saw the next victim, er, person she talked to. And then the next. And then the next. And she never made it back around to you until the next time you saw her. Then it started all over again. "I'm glad you're feeling better. The last time we spoke you said your mother no longer had blood pressure problems. That medication is really working out well for her, isn't it?" "Oh, hi, Scott. How was your middle son's basketball game? I heard he got to play for 45 minutes and scored 8 points and...." HOLLOW. Empty. Deceptive. I swanee I needed a kleenex to wipe the sugar off my face she had kissed me so much with her words. Abundant. Multiplying words. In the form of kisses.
Chatting it Up
The wounds I received from my friend, my best friend, totally different than my BFF, were hurtful, but they were from the most faithful friend I have. They wounded but were said in love. They stung and I resisted them, but I thought about them and reached a point of compromise. I made a few changes that needed to be made and I think I'm on the right track now.
We should take everything people say with a grain of salt. That salt will either season the word or preserve the words for us to think over later. If the words are said in love, all the better the salt will make it. If they're not, we'll know. They will be preserved for us to really consider and think over. And once we know what we are to do with the words that wound, the grain of salt we've taken the words with can go a long way in healing us, even if we end up having to sever the ties of faithful friendship because we realize it's a fateful friendship.
God gave us the ability to know what to do with the words we hear that wound us so. We process them in our minds, toss them around in our hearts, and leave them with God to give us peace and strength to know what to do with the wounds we've received. While I've made some changes, I admit I'm still processing some of the words. Using lots of salt. No pun intended. I crack myself up sometimes!



Mary Moss said...

Laurie Ann, this is a marvelous post! Yes even hard words spoken in love can sting and cut us to the quick.

I am grateful you had the wisdom to give it to God so you could have His help in determining how to respond.

I loved the part about salt either hurting or seasoning the words spoken to us.

Blessings upon your continued journey.

Toknowhim said...

What a post.... I liked the definitions :) So neat the timing of this question and your experience...Blessings

Denise said...

Such a great post sweetie.

ambersun said...

Hi again

Yeah - I had a good friend speak to me about some areas of my life where I wasn't up to scratch last year.

I didn't like it at the time but I knew it was meant in the right spirit.

Please pray for me - I am really depressed at the moment.

God Bless