One of my favorite verses is "Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses." We live in an age, or so it seems, where we, by this criteria, have more enemies than friends. We live in a society that seeks to butter us up, spare our feelings, and let us continue on in our self-destructive habits. We care more about temporary feelings than eternal dwellings, and so we seek to be liked, as opposed to bring our "friends" to eternal love. You might ask "What about love?" I'm glad you did. Love does NOT mean sparing someone from hurts. Trials and temptations (according to James), build our strength and endurance. It DOES mean we love someone enough to risk hurt if it means that they will become a better person for it. Love is being willing to consider someone's eternity, not this temporary dwelling and fleeting feelings. "But what about Grace?" Good question! There's a HUGE difference between grace and enabling. Going back to James, proverbs, and elsewhere in Scripture, God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble. We can feed someone's pride by not being a true friend. Pride is the antithesis of a Christ-Like heart. we need to speak the truth, in love, but the truth nonetheless, and sometimes (often) it hurts. Don't think by sparing someone's feelings, you're sparing them from an eternity apart from Christ! We're to build one another up, build the body, and strengthen one another, and sometimes, like a doctor who has to break bones to reset them, it's going to be extremely painful. This mentality, saturated in prayer. however, brings a Christ-like healing. Above all, do it in love!
John 15 English Standard Version (ESV)
I Am the True Vine
15 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. 2 Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. 3 Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. 4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. 5 I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. 7 If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. 9 As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. 10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love. 11 These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.
12 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command you. 15 No longer do I call you servants,[a] for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. 17 These things I command you, so that you will love one another.
The Hatred of the World
18 “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. 20 Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. 21 But all these things they will do to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me. 22 If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have been guilty of sin,[b] but now they have no excuse for their sin. 23 Whoever hates me hates my Father also. 24 If I had not done among them the works that no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin, but now they have seen and hated both me and my Father. 25 But the word that is written in their Law must be fulfilled: ‘They hated me without a cause.’
26 “But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me. 27 And you also will bear witness, because you have been with me from the beginning.