Scripture Reading: Ezekiel 16:1-63 / Hebrews 9:1-15 / Proverbs 27:5-14
An intervention is an orchestrated attempt by one or many people, usually family and friends, to get someone to seek help with an addiction, crisis or serious problem. No one likes interventions but there are times when we need to hear that we are heading in the wrong direction, making destructive decisions or need an attitude adjustment. Those times are never welcomed at first but deep down people know they need them.
When we look in a mirror we usually only see the things that we are focusing on. We don’t notice the spot on our shirt because we are fixing our hair. Blemishes seem to go unnoticed or blend in with everything else. It is not easy hearing the gentle and loving rebuke of others. We don’t always respond well to criticism but God uses friends and family to speak into our lives. Solomon reminds us, “Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.” (Proverbs 27:6)
One of the greatest things about friendship is the openness, transparency and honesty that friendship brings. Friends can read each other like an open book and know not only their friend’s strengths, but also their weaknesses. A true friend will want only the best for the other and at times that means sharing firm but gentle words of correction or rebuke. Those times are always uncomfortable and they hurt, causing wounds in egos and hearts.
There is a reason for that…wounds are always accompanied by pain. Like a physical wound, they may not hurt immediately, but within a few moments the pain starts and intensifies rather quickly. Pain always demands a reaction and response…a wince, a scream, withdrawal. The pain continues until a soothing balm is applied or until our body adjusts to the pain. It takes time for the wound to close up, scab over and heal. At times, it leaves behind a scar, reminding us of the incident.
We can fall into a trap of thinking that people who say nice things to us must be our friends and people who say hard things to us must be our enemies. Sometimes, the people who say the nicest things about us are really the ones who care the least about us. People use flattery not to edify us but to get close to us in order to use us. Joab used his influence and relationship with David in order to destroy him. Judas betrayed Jesus with a “kiss”. Norman Vincent Peale said, “The trouble with most of us is that we would rather be ruined by praise than saved by criticism.”
The reproof of a friend may seem so severe at the moment and cause undo pain in our lives but we are not to react in the flesh but give way to The Spirit. God may be behind the correction and “opinion”. He may be trying to get our attention and have us honestly examine our lives. When a friend shares serious concerns from a spirit of love and care, receive them in a spirit of humility. Take those words to God and listen to His response…He will sort it all out and will always tell you the truth.
Pastor James Clark has pastored Calvary Assembly since 1985. He is blessed with his wife Yvonne, six children, two son-in-laws, a beautiful granddaughter and hopefully many more grandchildren to follow!