Your Inner Circle

Proverbs 27: 6Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.

Athletes – Is there a Land Mine in your Posse?  The title pretty much sums up the article.   The writer, Phil Hueston from All Star Sports Academy, asks some pretty pointed questions of student-athletes – most importantly, how they are being affected by the company they keep?  He refers to the old axiom that “we are known by the company we keep”.  He rightly recognizes that this can be particularly difficult for student-athletes (who by definition have chosen a path that requires significant self-discipline and wisdom), because they can be accused of “forgetting where they came from” or “running away from their pasts.”.  But Hueston rightly asserts: “I choose to define it this way: those athletes saw the ‘land mines’ in their ‘posses’ and chose to find a new, more supportive group with whom to associate. They chose to move toward a brighter future by aligning themselves with people who would support that future and who understand the commitment chosen by the athlete.”

You don’t have to search long to uncover a significant list of pro athletes who have chosen to associate themselves with a posse who has not steered them in a good direction.  DUI charges, drug charges, assault charges, and even murder, have become constant headlines for many pro athletes.  Even many athletes who start out on a good, wise path fall prey to the truth of 1 Corinthians 15:33 – “Do not be misled: ‘Bad company corrupts good character’.”

These posses are actually “posers”, as they appear to be the athletes’ greatest admirers and friends, willing to do anything for their friend, but today’s proverb identifies exactly what they are: “an enemy multiplies kisses”.  It appears, at the surface, that today’s scripture is a contradiction.  Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.” (Proverbs 27:6). How can wounds from a friend be trusted?  And what can possibly be wrong with kisses?  Why does the writer of this proverb call the giver of kisses an enemy?

The reality is that a good friend will not tell you what you want to hear, but they will tell you what you need to hear, even when it hurts.  When a friend is willing to test your friendship by saying something unpleasant and opening themselves up to your potential wrath, simply because they have your best interests in mind, that is a true friend.  While the wounds may hurt temporarily, they may be saving you significant future pain, should you heed their advice.  In contrast, the “posse”, the gang that hangs around you showering you with flattery, never challenging your poor behavior or decisions, is in fact your enemy feeding you poison.

It is your responsibility as a Christian to go before God and answer some tough questions he is asking you.  “Is the group you’re currently associating yourself with, encouraging you to be more or less like Jesus?  Is the group you’re associating with challenging you to be sanctified and increasingly demonstrating the “fruits of the spirit” (Galatians 5: 22-23)?  If you don’t have the latter group around you, earnestly pray to God that he would bring that group to you, and earnestly seek out such friends.  If you have friends who are willing to “wound” you for your better good, thank them, encourage them to continue, thank God for them, and pray blessings over their lives because there are not many such people.

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