The heart is delighted by the fragrance of oil and sweet perfumes, and in just the same way, the soul is sweetened by the wise counsel of a friend. Proverbs 27:9 (VOICE)
The book of Proverbs contains many principles for building great friendships. We’ve been on a series talking about Proverbs’ wisdom for relationships, and today we’re going to cover another point.
Today’s verse says that our souls are sweetened by the wise counsel of a friend. Sometimes we just want to be our friends’ cheerleaders. When they tell us about their problems and conflicts, we are tempted to get upset right along with them. We think that we should always side with our friends, so we agree with them when they point the finger at others. But we have to remember that there are always two sides to every story, and if we stay calm, we can provide perspective.
While everyone certainly does need encouragement, we can’t forget that our friends need honesty as well. It’s hard to tell a friend the truth sometimes, especially when you know that truth is going to sting. But if you do it with love and compassion, without judgment and with their best interests in mind, that honesty will often make the friendship grow closer.
Of course, this speak the truth in love practice is a two-way street. We need to let our friends speak into our lives too, giving them permission to be honest with us. When we do, we develop solid friendships where we can trust each other to share the kind of wise counsel we need to hear.