Paul is sending Timothy to the Philippian Church expecting that he’ll bring back good news to him regarding the condition of the church and this will cheer his heart, or bring him great joy. On the other hand he is sending 09 slappedTimothy to them in order that they too may rejoice and be cheered up as well. Timothy was part of Paul’s team that planted the church in Philippi and he is loved and respected there. Paul broached some pretty serious subjects in his letter to the believers. He did so out of a heart filled with concern and compassion for them. It is only those who truly care who dare to take risks to confront us. Paul wasn’t the only one who would do this. He knew Timothy had the same depth of love and concern. In Philippians 2:20, Paul writes, “For I have no one like him, who will be genuinely concerned for your welfare.”

Proverbs 27:6 carries a profound truth that Paul and Timothy illustrate for us. It says, “Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy.” In the United Bible Societies Handbook for Bible Translators there is an interesting comment on this verse: “Faithful are the wounds of a friend means that a true friend’s criticism or frank speaking (wounds of a friend) is based on the sincerity of the friendship.  The Contemporary English Version  says ‘You can trust a friend who corrects you.’ Profuse renders a word meaning ‘plenty’ or ‘abundant.’” The suggestion is that the kisses of those who don’t really care about you may be excessive, meaning there are too many, yet those who will step out of the comfort zone and tell you how it really is are few. Isn’t this what Paul is saying about Timothy. He had no one like Timothy who cared enough about the Philippians to confront them about their divisive spirit.

We all need some close friends who are willing to wound us in order to help us. A person who does nothing but compliment you may not be a true friend. Some people have hidden agendas and want something from you that they expect to get out of flattery or unwarranted praise. Good friends know how and when to compliment us and they also know how and when to correct us. Good friends don’t always say what we may want to hear, but that’s exactly why we need them. We need friends like that who will ask us the hard questions in life. Good friends will push us and challenge us onward toward Christ likeness even when we don’t want to go. Paul knew the Philippian believers needed Timothy. We need a Timothy also in our lives. Do you have one?