Oh, my gosh, the TYPOS. The bane of my existence. No matter how often I proofread, edit, proofread, and edit again, I don’t think I have had one upload without a typo. I am blessed with a highly overqualified editor (Mass Media and Communication PhD, former professor, and an incredible woman of God) who gently sends me a private message when she finds them, and I fix them right away.

Unfortunately, those of you who receive these devotionals by email never get to see the corrected version. It only changes online. It drives me MAD.

Why, oh why, can’t I see them? It is as though a veil is over my eyes, and as hard as I look, they escape me.

Apparently the brain reads what the brain has intended to say. We know what we meant to say, and that is what we hear when we read it to ourselves over and over. The brain overrides the eyes, and we literally can’t “see” our mistakes. This is why we need good friends to edit us.

And that applies to so much more than writing.

Sirach 6:14-16 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

14  Faithful friends are a sturdy shelter:

    whoever finds one has found a treasure.

15  Faithful friends are beyond price;

    no amount can balance their worth.

16  Faithful friends are life-saving medicine;

    and those who fear the Lord will find them.

(Not familiar with this book? Sirach is a book found in the Catholic and Orthodox bibles. It was originally not included in the Protestant canon because there was no Hebrew version of it. However, a Hebrew version was discovered with the Dead Sea Scrolls. Isn’t that a lovely scripture?)

Faithful friends provide a safe place, a security we can’t find elsewhere, and are good medicine when things ail us. Good medicine fixes things, and sometimes comes in the form of gentle corrections or appropriate edits along the way. Only a trusted pal can speak truth into your life in ways that others can’t.

There was a woman in our congregation whom others were convinced had an eating disorder. She cracked her pelvis due to weak bones and over-exercise. When she tried to go out for a light run a few weeks after her injury, her best friend reached out to me and implored me to intervene. I did not know this woman well, as she was an infrequent attender. People struggling with eating disorders tend to be very private, very afraid of discovery, and practice a lot of denial.

I told the friend that she was in a much better position to confront her friend, but she refused. She continued to persist that I speak to the woman, so I finally contacted her. You can guess the rest: I expressed the concern, and she was furious and denied it. She never returned to church again.

I was in no position to “correct” her, and I knew that. The friend would have been so much better heard. That’s what a good friend does. A gentle word, softly spoken, goes a long way between friends. We can all use editing now and then.

We often can’t see our mistakes. Things we intend to be seen or heard one way can be interpreted another way. We can put a veil over our own eyes when we get caught up in something we have no business doing. A good friend helps us to see what we can’t see, and correct the “typos” of our lives.

Where is someone trying to speak truth into your situation? You need to listen. Where do you need to gently edit a friend before they go off the rails? You need to speak.

It’s hard to tell someone that they are drinking too much, eating too little, spending too much, neglecting their health, flirting with the wrong person, driving while impaired, etc. It’s harder when you’re the one who needs to HEAR those corrections. This all requires loving words, a solid relationship, and a whole lot of prayer.

Editing is a hard thing, and it takes delicacy. But faithful friends try. Faithful friends are a treasure without measure…no amount can balance what they’re worth. Open our eyes, Lord, to the truths that faithful friends deliver.

Where Two are Gathered by my faithful friend Elaine Reed

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