“Let the righteous smite me; it shall be a kindness: and let him reprove me; it shall be an excellent oil, which shall not break my head: for yet my prayer also shall be in their calamities.” – Psalms 141:5
True friends who will lovingly challenge us toward Christlikeness are few and far between. Yet, for the believer, they are a vital and necessary part of spiritual maturity. Of course, God can grow a Christian in Christlikeness apart from other believers, but that is the exception and not the rule. From the New Testament, it is obvious that close fellowship between Christ’s disciples is His will.
Spurgeon wrote this of the psalmist, “He prefers the bitters of gracious company to the dainties of the ungodly. He would rather be smitten by the righteous than feasted by the wicked. He gives a permit to faithful admonition, he even invites it…”
This Psalm reminds me of Proverbs 27:6,
“Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.”
We need our brothers and sisters in Christ to challenge us to go further in serving God, to rebuke us when we sin, to encourage us when we feel like quitting. The word smite means to hammer, the word reprove literally means to be right, it implies someone will argue, convince, and correct us when we are wrong.
Such smiting and reproving must be done in a loving and deliberate way. Loving, in that the other’s good and God’s glory is our motivation. Deliberate, in that Christlikeness is the result.
I am thankful for friends in my life who “smite” and reprove me. I may not always enjoy the process, but I know I need it.
So, friends, smite me and reprove me, and I will do the same for you.