"Faithful are the wounds of a friend;
profuse are the kisses of an enemy."
Yesterday I got a call from a friend who has had a lot of trouble with her marriage. As we talked about the issues at hand, I recognized many of them as mirrored images of the issues John and I have had for years. They are not exactly the same, but very similar--and the roles are somewhat reversed. He is pushing too hard for emotional closure (like I would) and she is frightened by his direct approach (which is loud and often hurtful).
There were several times during the conversation that she seemed astounded that I might take his side--which was only partly true and demand that she bravely engage with him. I'm sure she felt wounded or felt like I wasn't adequately commiserating with her. I know her pain. I validated her fears, but in validating them, I also challenged them. Yes, she was afraid, but not immediately so. Yes, she would leave if she ever felt like she was in danger--and she had left under those situations in the past.
Part of me wishes I could have just salved her wounds like so many people say is important. I'm just not built that way. In the end, we both are writing "Waddya Want From Me?" guidelines for our husbands--a guide to what we want with objective, measureable criteria and consequences to answer the question from her husband (that I'm sure my husband is wondering too).
The Bible verse above talks about the wounds of a friend and the kisses of an enemy. I could have multiplied kisses in false encouragement but that would have left her with the same (or more) confusion about what to do and where to find answers. I want to be a real friend to her and I think some of our conversation might have stung a bit, but those wounds were faithful and true and hopefully will lead to healing for both of us.
That's how Jesus did it and I hope I did it as faithfully as He does now for me.