Does this Bible verse make my butt look fat?

Has your spouse, or a friend, ever asked you this question: “Do these pants make my butt look … ?” Now, the correct answer to that question is, “the pants are a neutral party in this situation and innocent of all charges, they cannot make your butt look bigger than it is, or smaller than it is.” At least, that is the logical answer.

What do you say when someone you are close to asks a question that seeks an unvarnished answer? Unless you are both committed — and, you might want this in writing — to being absolutely truthful with each other, you will soon find yourself in a snare. Although the person appears to be after an honest answer, he/she will likely get mad if given one. Let’s peer into Proverbs 27 and see what says about this.

In Proverbs 27 the Bible outlines two things that a true friend does: a true friend wants the truth from you and will share the truth with you, even when it is arduous. This teaching swims upstream against how modern thought portrays what friendship, or a deep relationship, is like. We have been trained to think that we should always be encouraging, supportive, and uplifting to our friends. Those things are mostly true, most of the time.

However, a biblical friendship balances two elements on the fulcrum of God’s Word. Let’s examine those two elements:

 

“Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ,” Ephesians 4:15

In this verse we learn that our growth in Christ is dependent upon two conditions: loving one another and speaking/teaching the truth to one another. Full stop here. This is critical. Love alone will not do it; speaking the truth alone won’t either. It demands both. For you and I to grow in Christ others must love us enough to teach us hard things, correct us, and hold us accountable (all functions of the truth).

Loving others and teaching/telling the truth to the might seem like two separate component, but they are not, they are intertwined. Ephesians 4:15 states them in a way that shows them working together. We are to speak/teach the truth lovingly, and love truthfully. We see this demonstrated over and over in the character, work, and teachings of Jesus:

 

“And the Word (Jesus) became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:14

John exclaims he saw the glory of God manifested in the Son of God. What did that glory look like: full of grace and truth. Both. Both balanced and fused in all that Jesus did and said. With Jesus it was not grace or truth. It was both, all the time.

That is a wordy intro, I know. But, it prepares us for what Proverbs 27 will teach us about the nitty-gritty of true friendship. Here are three verses in this chapter that instruct us on this:

 

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

“Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.” Proverbs 27:17

These verses teach us vital truths about true friendship. They are contrary to today’s ideas of accepting and affirming each other as we are. These verses teach us that at times friendship invovles teeth-clenching and gut-churning actions. These verses teach us that genuine friendship requires pointed honesty, correction, and rebuke. If we do not care for each other enough to do those things then we are avoiding the kind of friendship that the Bible prescribes.

The reason type of friendship is necessary for Christians is because we cannot become more Christ-like through affirmation and encouragement alone. It requires the sort of sharpening described in verse 17. If you have ever sharpened a knife you know that the knife must be pressed against the file, or sharpening stone, for a sharp edge to be formed, then honed. It demands pressure and friction. Healthy friendships require the same, and welcome it.

In summary, for us to grow in Christ and aid others in doing so we must offer and receive honest and loving accountability, correction, and rebuke. The entire process of sharing the truth must be done so in love. These two elements enable us to help one another toward Christ-likeness.

By the way, there are other solid truths to lay hold of in chapter 27. Here are some of them, briefly stated:

  • Verse 1: Remember, we are to walk in humble faith because we are not in control.
  • Verse 2: We all want good things said about us, but let others say them.
  • Verse 4: Some reactions (anger, frustration) fade with time; the embers of jealousy glow redder every day.
  • Verse 19: What we think and plan on the inside is who we actually are. A handsome veneer can only cover an cracked board for so long.
  • Verse 22: You cannot beat wisdom into a fool, or grind it into him over time. So, don’t try to.
  • Verses 23-27: Pay attention, do you work, be content.

As you exit chapter 27 please be sure and pick up one, or all, of the three great memory verses found in it:

“Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy.” Proverbs 27:6

“The prudent sees danger and hides himself, but the simple go on and suffer for it.” Proverbs 27:12

“Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.” Proverbs 27:17

As you can tell, chapter 27 contains more truths that we can cover in one blog post. Please go back and review the chapter several times. It will be worth your time.

And yes, those pants do make you look … just right, for your size.

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