Third, true friends sharpen, constructively counsel, and even criticize one another in love. Friends don't allow friends to continue in sin. We cover their sin, but we do not cover-up their sin i.e., we protect them from shame and embarrassment where we can, but we do not facilitate their sinning. We desire to see the other person built up and brought more and more to reflect the image of Christ. "But, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ" (Eph. 4:15). Proverbs 27:17 admonishes: "As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance [Heb: "the person"], of his friend."; "Ointment and perfume delight the heart, and the sweetness of a man's friend gives delight by hearty counsel" (Pr. 27:9).
Such friends care more about their friends than they do themselves, and thus are willing to risk their own hurt for the sake of the other. They do not hide behind excuses when they see a need for correction, but rather risk the temporary discomfort for the long-term good of their friend. They inflict faithful wounds: "Open rebuke is better than love carefully concealed. Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful" (Pr. 27:5-6).