A single rebuke does more for a person of understanding than a hundred lashes on the back of a fool. Proverbs 17v10 (NLT)
How do I respond to feedback from a trusted friend? I think it has to be a trusted friend – one who has deposited more into our friendship than withdrawn.
Over the years, particularly as a church leader, I have ‘deposited’ numerous times into other people only to have them respond badly to the first or second relationship ‘withdrawal’ I make. I have also experienced people approaching me with an immediate ‘withdrawal’ attitude, perhaps thinking I can take it or deserve it.
However, I have also had trusted proven friends speak “hard” words in my life. When they do, I am immediately listening. Not because I like what I hear, but because I know they are for me. Their agenda is for my good. If you find someone who is for your good, then listen well even when it is tough.
So I answer the original question above by saying that it should leave a lasting impression that I never forget. It should do more for me than I ever expected. It should humble me. It will probably hurt me. It should help me understand who I am and how I appear to others. It should cause me to reflect deeply, ask questions and where needed clarify what I should do to change. It should not take years and years of being told the same thing over and over by numerous people before I realise the issue.
As for my friend – I should thank him or her for their kindness, love, courage and honesty. I welcome that kind of friendship. It is good for my soul.
A rebuke goes deeper into a man of understanding than a hundred blows into a fool. Proverbs 17v10 (ESV)