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Behind the Mask

"Behind the Mask" |March 7, 2015 Order Info

Texts: Proverbs 25:2, 3; 26:11, 12; 1 Corinthians 1:20, 21; Proverbs 26:13–16; 27:5, 6

Victoria and Tawnee were good friends. They’d spent a lot of time together over the past five years, but often got into fights. Last fall, while driving down Interstate 15 in Utah, they got into a heated argument about a guy. Both had been smoking marijuana shortly before. In a rage Victoria pulled out a 4-inch pocketknife and began stabbing her friend multiple times. Then she called her sister and confessed she’d hurt Tawnee. Victoria drove to their church where her sister discovered Tawnee had died, still in the front seat of the car.1

Last week a judge ordered Victoria to stand trial on a murder charge. The 22-year-old pleaded not guilty and threatened to kill herself as she was led out of the courtroom. “Then you don’t have to worry about me,” she yelled. One phone call recording played in court reveals Victoria stating, “I’m really sorry for this, but I didn’t know what else to do.” She also stated, “I went crazy. I didn’t mean to do it.” The victim’s father said Victoria was close to the family and that “the relationship had looked healthy to him.”

In our Sabbath school lesson this week, we look at the power of words in the book of Proverbs. One verse in our study states, “Faithful are the wounds of a friend…” (Proverbs 27:6, NKJV). A surface reading of this text may confuse some readers. After hearing about Victoria and Tawnee, how could the wounds of a friend be faithful?

The verse teaches that sometimes we need to confront our friends with truth. There are moments when a rebuke, though not appreciated, may save a friend from going down a dangerous path. On the surface, such reproof may wound our pride but save our soul. The Hebrew word for “faithful” in this text comes from a root word that means to “support” or “to be firm.” Sharing concerns with friends takes strength.

The second of half of this verse is also revealing: “But the kisses of an enemy are deceitful” (Proverbs 27:6). What may appear to be words of kindness on the outside could be full of poison on the inside. The story of the serpent deceiving Eve in the Garden of Eden depicts such deadly flattery. Judas’ kiss of betrayal is another example of misleading others by our actions. The friend of Christ became the enemy.

Victoria’s behavior is shocking and sad. We might blame drugs for distorting her thinking, but the deed was done and it certainly wasn’t an act of friendship. We ought to remember that our own words can wound others. Sometimes strong statements cut and destroy, but other times our rebukes may save the life of a friend.

~ cr



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