Posted by: Omar C. Garcia | April 24, 2009

Living with Wounds

One of the most difficult things in life is expressing tough love in relationships. Honestly, it’s much easier to let things slide or to look the other way than it is to speak the truth in love. I am grateful for the tender-hearted people in my life — those compassionate, encouraging, and affirming individuals who make me feel good about who I am.

I am also thankful for those who have loved me enough to make me face unpleasant things about myself. These friends have taught me that while tough love is painful, it is also powerful. The writer of Proverbs (27:6) understood the importance of tough love when he wrote, “Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but deceitful are the kisses of an enemy.”

Kissing people is undoubtedly much more pleasant than wounding them, but not always the most loving thing we can do. Here are some practical thoughts about wounding, being wounded, and living with wounds.

W = Welcome
| One of the key reasons people get into trouble is because they do not build accountability into their lives. Many people prefer to surround themselves with those who will either always agree with them or are too timid to confront them. That’s dangerous! We must welcome friends into our lives that have our permission to speak the truth in love (Eph. 4:15) and to wound us, when necessary. We need to live life in perspective. That means listening to those who are able to see things in us that we cannot see in ourselves or easily overlook and dismiss.

O = Open | When a trusted friend wounds you, be open to what they have to say. A good friend generally has your best interests at heart. There are more than enough timid people who would rather kiss-up than there are people who care about you enough to speak the truth in love. So, embrace and be open to those who love you enough to wound you.

U = Understand | Understand that the one who wounds you also experiences a heaviness of heart. It’s not easy telling a friend what they need to hear. Most people are not wired to confront and struggle when they know they will have to do so. When a friend cares enough about you to wound you, take a moment to consider how difficult it must have been for them to do so.

N = New | One of the best things about feedback from trusted friends is that it gives us the information we need in order to stay on course, to make course corrections, and to help us move in a new direction. Think of a friend who loves you enough to wound you as a mirror. We get feedback every time we look in the mirror. And, people who are smart make necessary adjustments after looking in the mirror. You may not like what you see reflected back to you through your friend’s feedback, but be smart enough to do the right thing.

D = Defensive | Resist the temptation to be defensive or to excuse or rationalize your present course. Take a deep breath. Listen prayerfully. Ask the Lord to help you process what you have heard, however painful it may be. While most people love to learn, they hate to be taught. Teaching includes feedback and criticism. Apart from the feedback of those who care deeply for us, we can easily lose our way or continue down destructive paths.

S = Strength | Look for the positive in what you might initially perceive to be a negative experience. Harness the feedback of a faithful friend and allow it to make you stronger. Thank God for those who love you enough to wound you. And, thank your friend for being courageous enough to take a risk by speaking the truth to you in love.

As I look back through the years, I can pinpoint many painful experiences when a friend or friends cared enough about me to wound me. I hate to think of where I might be today had they kissed-up rather than getting fed up with my actions or behaviors that were harming me and others. I am a stronger and more stable person today because of these friends. And, I have learned to see each wound as a signature of love.


  1. Thanks for the article of “Living with Wounds”

    I kept reading & trying to understand. There a lot of teaching that I can have learn. I am reading through the bible verses, to make sure to understand.

    Thanks once again.

  2. Thank God for your boldness to share this post. This is so true! I have been a believer since my childhood but it wasn’t until 6 years ago that I experience freedom from patterns of sin and wrong behavior and in big part it was because I was accountable to godly friends, who were willing to ask the difficult questions on a regular basis. What a difference it has made in my life! Not only that but I’ve also discovered what a deeper TRUE fellowship can be experienced when we have this kind of friend. I pray for our church Kingsland that the hearts of the people will be open to this kind of fellowship. Like King David, we all need both a Jonathan AND a Nathan in our lives.

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