When the teens at the Bible study heard Proverbs 27:6 (above) these were just some of the questions they asked: “How’s that possible? How can the Bible teach something that’s so contradictory? Would a real friend actually wound you? Do you call that friendly? Is that faithful? How could wounding someone ever be a sign of friendship?” Then the teacher told this true story: Two friends were on a fishing trip in the boundary waters of northern Minnesota, far from civilization. One was bitten by a deadly snake, and the poison began to spread quickly. The only way his life could be saved was for his friend to quickly cut the swollen skin at the bite and draw out the poison. And though it hurt to be cut, the wound kept him from dying.
If we look at the meaning behind two key words in Proverbs 27:6 we find that this story depicts the true sense of the verse. The Hebrew word for “faithful” refers to a nurse’s care, and the word “wounds” implies the splitting open of a swollen area to drain it. In this example the wounds of a friend are faithful, because they are the wounds of care that heal rather than hurt.
The Lord knows the danger of the poison of sin in our lives, and cares for us so much that He will do what is needed to save us from our sins and nurse us back to good health. He who loves us and gave His life for us now cares for us so much that He will hurt us to save us from the poison of sin. When we consider His faithfulness, we can proclaim with the songwriter, “What a friend we have in Jesus!”
I hope this month’s Features help you develop and maintain true friendships, especially with Jesus, the “friend of … sinners” (Lk. 7:34).
By Larry Ondrejack
With permission to publish by: Sam Hadley, Grace & Truth, 210 Chestnut St., Danville, IL., USA. Website: www.gtpress.org