I’m a sucker for compliments and maybe you are as well. I like to be told that I preached a powerful message, that I’m a great mom, I’m an excellent wife and I could keep going with a really long list. Compliments are frequently really helpful, unless you get them from someone who you know isn’t a friend. Compliments from people who are not your friends can be poisonous because the compliments are often insincere. If you think about it, people who don’t have your best interests at heart can and will say anything nice to you because they don’t have any “skin in the game”.
In contrast, people who are genuinely your friend will tell you things that could be difficult to hear:
your zipper is unzipped,
you’ve been really cranky lately,
your thinking is really messed up,
that’s not a good color on you, etc
In Prov 27:6 it says that the wounds of a friend are faithful but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful. Don’t fall for deceitful kisses!
“I’m not your enemy, please stop fighting me!” I said to one of my kids recently. Enemies can be very interesting as I’ve seen from reading about King David in 1 & 2 Samuel. He was an interesting man and had many of the challenges in his life that we face – external & internal enemies.
David’s external enemies were people who opposed his progress – people who didn’t want him to be king, his brothers who derided him for being the troublesome little brother, Nabal who thought he was just another slacker looking for a handout, etc. We all have people & even situations in our lives that seem to oppose our progress and efforts to accomplish things & to go places. Perhaps we have external enemies to develop internal strength & fortitude.
David also had several internal enemies. In my opinion, David’s internal enemies were more harmful to him than his external enemies. Here are some internal enemies that David had, that might be familiar to us:
focus: David didn’t control his focus & therefore his passions which resulted in his relationship with Bathsheba & the death of her husband, Uriah (read Ps 51)
confronting: David didn’t confront his son Amnon about raping Tamar (Amnon’s half-sister); David didn’t confront Absalom about killing Amnon; both occasions combined to make for heartache in David’s life (killing, rejection, dishonor, rebellion, relationship breakdown, etc)
counting: at the end of David’s reign, he made a decree for the Israelites to be counted. Perhaps David wanted this census to measure his success, power, influence, etc. I don’t know why David made this census, but it was displeasing to God – some kind of wrong motive.
Let’s be attentive to the weakspots / enemies in our hearts & thinking – they can most certainly be more destructive than any external enemy 🙂
There is a chick who followed Jesus who always takes my breath away: Mary of Bethany. I love watching her because of her devotion to Jesus & her authenticity. The first time we read of her, she’s sitting at Jesus’ feet listening to Him – a place reserved for men who were learning from a teacher, not women who weren’t deemed as worthy to receive education nor instruction. Mary should’ve been helping Martha in the kitchen, doing domestic stuff. But Jesus applauds Mary & says that “this one thing won’t be taken from her.”
Mary’s devotion to Jesus is tested when her brother Lazarus dies, even though Jesus could have prevented his death. Mary is extremely upset by Lazarus’ death & it seems to me that she let her emotions prevent her from seeing her brother raised from the dead (John 11).
The final time we read much about Mary is when she is washing Jesus’ feet with her tears, drying them with her hair & anointing Jesus with costly oil. Her love & devotion to Jesus were nothing less than authentic & extravagant. May I love Jesus as Mary did