I just received one of “those” emails. Well-intentioned. Not caustic but very directive on what I should do in a particular situation. I want to be open to people speaking into my life. All of us are full of blind spots. We need people who can see what we don’t see. Even more, people who have the courage to speak, when others remain silent.
Proverbs 27:6 says it succinctly, “Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.” I’m thankful for the people in my life who love me enough want the best for me and for the Kingdom of God. But in the passage in Proverbs, the operative word is “friend.” A friendship relationship presupposes that they will do the hard work of getting all the information before they speak. A friend has a relationship with you that is reciprocal not just transactional. It’s also deeper than an occasional “hi, how are ya?” I tend to get a sinking feeling in my gut when I read an email from an acquaintance ending with “the Lord directed him/her to write to me.”
I take those emails/letters at face value believing the best from the sender. But at the same time, be careful. Pastor Rick Warren would often say in these situations, “interesting that God directed you, but He hasn’t spoken to me or directed me.”
Marshall Shelly, past president of Christianity Today, wrote a book called Well-Intentioned Dragons, referring to people in the church who want to help, but don’t have all the information, or they sometimes don’t share it well.
So what am I going to do? Learn, grow, be sensitive to the leading of God, but don’t always throw up your hands saying, just because an acquaintance says something, it must be from God. It just might be from a “well-intentioned dragon.”