Thursday, December 2, 2004

When you eat in a hurry you sometimes leave traces of your meal on your face, and you sort of wear your food. There's some crumbs and there's some tomato sauce, or this little spot of chocolate. Of course, you don't know it.

I often have to eat on the run and so all too often I think you could tell what I had by looking. I don't mean to carry it around with me. Sometimes my wife or my son will stop me as I'm running around and say, "Whoa, you've got food on your face!" I want to tell you, it's embarrassing but I need it. I don't always say "thank you" to them. Sometimes I'll just say, "Oh, yeah I know." They'll say, "You know?" and I'll say, "Yeah, I'm saving it for a snack later." Which doesn't seem to please them, but I do have to actually stop and clean it up after someone points it out to me. I mean, if I'm not looking my best, I'd rather hear it from someone who loves me.

I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Bad News from a Good Friend."

Our word for today from the Word of God comes from Proverbs 27:6. Here's what it says. "Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses." I don't like that word "wounds" do you? It's not a pleasurable word. But it says, "The wounds from a friend can be trusted." What makes these wounds bearable, this bad news they've given us, is that it's from someone who cares about us. It's like when someone in my family says, "Ron you've got food on your face," or someone you care about says, "Hey, excuse me, but uh, do you know that you're unbuttoned?" or, "You're unzipped." or, "You've got a spot there." Do you like hearing that? No. Do you like carrying it around? No. Wouldn't you rather know than not know? Yes. Would you like those who love you to tell you even if it's not fun hearing it? Of course!

What's more important is when we have emotional or spiritual food on our face. Our personality is unzipped, our attitude is unbuttoned. If you care about someone, you will lovingly tell that person even the unpleasant truth, and if you're smart you'll respond appreciatively to bad news that comes from a good friend. We're talking about constructive criticism here. We're not tearing someone down. This is constructive. The responsibility of a Christian friend is to hold up a mirror and say, "Look at your strengths, man. Look at your weaknesses." But first tell them much about what they're doing right. There are gentle ways to do this. To say, "I'm not sure you know how this comes across when you talk like this or act like this." Or, "I'm afraid it might sound this way to other people and I wanted to tell you about it." "I'm concerned about what this could do, and so I wanted to tell you about it." "Look, this is going to be hard for me to say, and it's going to be hard for you to hear, but I love you enough to tell you this." Don't let your friends self-destruct because you're afraid to tell them the truth.

When you're the one receiving the criticism, will you listen? Will you find the grace to thank them for telling you? Then weigh what they've said, even if there's only ten-percent truth in it. Consider it. Ask for their prayer that asked you to help change it. Someone just loved you enough to tell you what someone should have told you maybe a long time ago.

Don't jump on your husband, your wife, your friend, your parents. Don't jump on someone who loves you for holding up a mirror. Deal with what's in the mirror. Don't attack them. If you're not looking your best, it's good to know that and to hear it from someone who loves you enough to tell you.



Ron Hutchcraft Ministries
P.O. Box 400
Harrison, AR 72602-0400

(870) 741-3300
(877) 741-1200 (toll-free)
(870) 741-3400 (fax)


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