Better is open rebuke than hidden love. Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy. Prov. 27:5-6

Merciful Jesus, I need courage today for loving in sticky, broken, messy relationships. Sometimes the fear of making an even bigger mess makes it easier just to avoid or ignore certain people and issues. But that’s kind of like trying to ignore a compound fracture, skin cancer or a 102 temperature. The matter will only get worse. To say I’m conflict avoidant is not an excuse, but an acknowledgement of weakness and a confession of sin. Grant me, and others like me, the grace we need to love enough to confront.

Thank you for the stark frankness of your Word. When I multiply kisses but withhold life-giving rebukes from my friends, I’m living as their enemy—not merely as a poor lover, but as an enemy. When I’m not willing to offer a redemptive wounding, I’m a bad friend, not just someone suffering from busyness or a lack of priorities. Have mercy on me, Jesus. Grant me, and others like me, the courage and words that we need to love to your glory.

I bring to you my fear of man and love for relational placidity, which I know to be a snare. I confess it as sin and repent. I also acknowledge that I need the truth of the gospel and the power of the Holy Spirit for change. Jesus, it’s because of your open rebuke that my life is now hidden safely in you. It’s because you clearly revealed my need of your grace that I now rest in your love. It’s because you cared enough to confront me that I will eternally enjoy your comfort and peace.

Jesus, you took the ultimate unfriendly wounding of sin and evil on the cross that we might know your kisses to be those of a Savior-Bridegroom. So very Hallelujah! No greater love can be found anywhere. In the coming days, help me to love well in messy stories among other messy people like me—help me and others like me. Bring the beauty of redemption, reconciliation and restoration. So very Amen we pray, in your compassionate and restorative name.