Victoria Price is an investigative TV reporter for WFLA, an NBC affiliate station, in Tampa, Florida. I suspect you have never heard of her, but in June of this year she received an email after appearing on air. Interestingly, the email was not like other emails she had received previously with comments related to her news stories, but rather with an urgent suggestion to seek her doctor for medical attention.
The email that Price received read: “Hi, I just saw your news report. What concerned me is the lump on your neck. Please have your thyroid checked. Reminds me of my neck. Mine turned out to be cancer. Take care of yourself.” Price proceeded to consult with a cancer specialist, and as it turned out–that eagle-eyed viewer was absolutely right. The lump was cancerous and spreading to her lymph nodes. Price eventually scheduled a surgery to get it removed.
The Florida investigative TV reporter expressed her gratitude on a subsequent Instagram post, saying: “Had I never received that email, I never would have called my doctor. The cancer would have continued to spread. It is a scary and humbling thought. I will forever be grateful to the woman who went out of her way to email me, a total stranger. She had zero obligation to, but she did anyway.”
This is not the first instance of a viewer diagnosing a television personality. In 2019, “Inside Edition” host Deborah Norville revealed that she successfully removed a cancerous thyroid nodule from her neck after a viewer noticed a lump and encouraged her to get it checked out. In 2013, a fan, who happened to be a registered nurse, noticed a lump on HGTV star Tarek El Moussa’s neck while watching a marathon of “Flip or Flop.” She wrote the show’s producers, urging El Moussa to get it checked out. As a result, El Moussa discovered that he, like Price & Norville, had thyroid cancer.
Sometimes people around us, both near and far, can see things about us that we cannot see. At times, these things are physical, like a cancerous lump on the neck, but at other times they see other “cancerous” things that we miss, like our bad attitudes, bad actions . . . our sins. Rarely will someone who barely knows us say anything about those things, but occasionally such input comes from someone immediately around us, who knows us well and have our best interests at heart. . . a friend.
The Bible tells us we need friends who will love, encourage, and stick with us through thick and thin (Prov. 17:17; Heb. 3:13; 10:25; Prov. 18:24). But we also need friends who will tell us the truth, even when it hurts (Prov. 27:6). We must be wise and receptive to the truthful, positive counsel of friends (Prov. 12:15; 13:10; 27:9). But we also need to be approachable concerning warnings (Col. 3:16; 1 Thess. 5:14; 2 Thess. 3:15; Titus 3:10), correction (Prov. 13:18; 15:5, 32), and rebukes (Ps. 141:5; Prov. 15:31; 19:25; 25:12; 27:5; Eccl. 7:5) regarding our obvious, sinful ways. Such warnings, correction, and rebukes should be administered humbly and gently with the aim of bringing about our change of heart and spiritual restoration (Gal. 6:1-3).
Thus, we need good friends who will love and support us, but who will also courageously, yet compassionately, communicate to us when they see spiritually cancerous lumps in our attitudes and actions to which we need to give attention. Without their input, these spiritually cancerous lumps that have avoided our detection may cause us untold heartache, harm, and even death.
Not only do we need such valuable friends; we must be these kind of friends to others!
Do you have such friends in your life? Will you permit them to be this kind of friend to you? Are you this kind of friend to them?
Your life and those of your friends may depend upon it!
Think about it.