Wednesday, June 19, 2013

June 20, 2013

"As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another." Proverbs 27:17

"A friend is someone who tells me the truth about me. I want to know when my work stinks or I’m being hurtful or stupid. I expect my friends to save me from myself."
"Faithful are the wounds of a friend." - Proverbs 27:6 (KJV)

"Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ."  Ephesians 4:16

What does a good friend look like?

What constitutes a good friendship?

The Christians faith is about relationships. So is life. No wonder that the Proverbs, a primer on wise living, would have much to say about choosing wise friends.

A wise friend encourages you but also, a wise friend exhorts you.

What does it mean to exhort?

It means to admonish. It means to challenge. It means to lovingly confront. It means to call out the best in another person. Some might call it "tough love".

General Ulysses S. Grant had a man who was a true friend to him like this. His name was John A. Rawlins. He was the General’s chief of staff. It was to Rawlins that Grant gave his pledge that he would abstain from alcohol. When he broke his pledge, Rawlins went to Grant and with great earnestness pleaded with him and successfully persuaded him to reaffirm his commitment to turning away from liquor.

Today, in front of the capital building in Washington, D.C., there stands a monument to General Grant, sitting on his horse in dramatic pose. At the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue and a little to the south, is Rawlins park, where there is another statue. A very ordinary, commonplace looking statue of John A Rawlins, the man responsible for keeping General Grant from falling off his horse!

Dealing with the crippling effects of alcohol abuse in his life was something that Ulysses S. Grant knew he ought to do, but couldn’t find the strength to do on his own. But a true friend named John A. Rawlins came alongside to exhort him and help him find the strength he needed to do what he ought to do, and not only was Grant better for it, but so was the nation

Rawlins proved to be a wise choice as a friend to General Grant. General Grant gave Rawlins permission to hold him accountable and to call out the best in him.

Do you think Grant would have become President without a friend and confidant like Rawlins?

Is there a Rawlins in your life? Have you been wise enough to befriend an exhorter?

If not, wise up!