"The wounds of a friend are trustworthy, but the kisses of an enemy are excessive." (Proverbs 27:6)
Have you ever had one of those friends who simply tell you like it is and even though, you may have taken offense at first, you realize over time that they were right? I have had friends, mentors, and a mother who are like this and I appreciate every time they are willing to speak the truth in love. Proverbs says that "wounds of a friend are trustworthy". In other words, sometimes what our friends or those in authority over us say may hurt, but their advice is to be trusted. However, Proverbs also says "the kisses of an enemy are excessive". Many times the enemy tries to always give us what we want to hear instead of what we may need to hear. If we always believe what we want to hear and shut out the voices that are trying to speak truth into our lives, we will end up eventually succumbing to our own whims and desires.
Many times we (myself included) are reluctant speak the truth to someone because we are afraid it may risk a friendship for a time or forever if they don't accept what we have to say. This is where prayer comes in to practice because lets be honest, we have lots of what we perceive as "truth" that we would like to say! Even now if I was honest, I could think of lots of things to say to people that I think they may need to hear but in reality, I'm fueling my own agenda. We need to be in prayer when we are going to speak truth into the lives of people around us so we can make sure that what we are going to tell them will help that person and not ourselves. We need to pray on a daily basis asking God to help guide our conversations and to have the opportunities to speak His truth in love. You never know who you are going to talk to or come across on a daily basis. It may be that the person ringing up your groceries at the store needs to hear a word of encouragement and your friend who is struggling needs to hear a word of truth. Colossians 4:5-6 says, "Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone." This is a prayer I pray often over me and my students because I want to be the teacher that knows how to answer their students wisely and gives support and truth that they may not be getting from their friends or at home. Do I always know the right thing to say? Absolutely not! But I have faith that if I continue to pray this verse, God will open up the opportunities for me to speak life and truth in a way that may benefit someone.
Mark Batterson said in his book, Soul Print, "Over the past year, I've asked God for more prophetic insight. I'm tired of shallow conversations with no eternal consequence. I want to have conversations that punctuate a person's life in ways that will change his or her destiny." He terms these conversations "eternal conversations". This is what has been on my heart as of late. I have have been praying for opportunities for eternal conversations. I am tired of conversations that are shallow and have no meaning behind them. The conversations that the other person and yourself will not likely remember later. I want to have eternal conversations with people. The type of conversations that will be remembered and that you and the other person leave feeling encouraged and uplifted or wanting to contemplate later on! They don't have to be two hour long conversations, although that may be the case. They can be quick words of encouragement that speaks directly towards their situation. It may be a quick "can I pray for you" moment. However, we need to start praying for these conversations to occur and we need to be ready when they do happen. Lately I have been contemplating that life is too short not to speak truth into the lives of others. Life should be about encouraging one another and speaking love and truth! Life should be about those deeper moments and conversations that pour into people's lives. This world is constantly full of meaningless conversation and telling people what they want to hear! This needs to change in our daily connections. Think about how many people you have the opportunity to speak to on a daily basis. Think about how many times you have the opportunity to speak up and bless someone but do not. We cannot hide in the shadows and be afraid to speak. Ask God to give you the confidence to speak even if it feels awkward!
As you go about your daily conversations today I pray this verse over you. "Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts." (Colossians 3:16)