Proverbs 27:6 says, "Faithful are the wounds of a friend but an enemy multiplies kisses." This is such an important verse in our pursuit of sanctification. I'm convinced that one of the big reasons why many of us lag in our spiritual growth and maturity is a direct result of a lack of community and accountability. We need each other. We need to get in each other's faces and lovingly wound each other from time to time. That's hard to do. It's hard to speak the truth in love. My wife is reading a book entitled, No More Christian Nice Girl. In it, the authors take us back to the early days of American Idol to make a point about how we approach each other as Christians. Many of us are like Paula -- you remember Paula Abdul. Passive Paula. Always passing out cordial comments but scooting around the truth so everyone would like her. We can't be like Paula. And we certainly can't be like Simon Cowell. Cutting Simon Cowell. Speaking the truth like a surgeon without the anesthesia. We can't be like Simon. But we can be like Randy. Big Dawg Randy. He graciously spoke the truth in love and stayed true to himself. We can be like Randy.
We need more of this in the church -- approaching each other humbly, gently and prayerfully. And giving permission for someone else in our life to confront us and ask us the difficult questions. We can't always see our own sin. And we can't always see our own growth in Christ. We need friends who can wound us and encourage us in this fight of faith.
If you're interested in living this out, I would recommend these resources.