Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy.
A True Friend
Imagine you saw a blind man headed for the edge of a cliff. You likely wouldn’t hesitate to go up to him and warn, would you? You’d be uninhibited in going right up to him and trying to tell him that where he’s headed is going to lead to disaster. Why would it be any different than if a friend came up to you and told you that you were headed in the wrong direction and that if you didn’t change your direction, you were going to face something very serious that was going to hurt you? A friend will tell you the truth, but someone who is only pretending to be your friend will hide it from you. Isn’t it better to hear the truth and be somewhat hurt by it than to hear falsehoods and run into more serious trouble later? As painful as it is, I would rather my friend tell me the truth than tell me what I want to hear. Sometimes God sends others to help us see that we’re wrong. So, isn’t that a good thing?
In Proverbs 27:5 it says that it’s better to receive open rebuke than pretending they love you by hiding the truth. By open rebuke, I don’t mean that someone tells you your fault in front of a huge, public gathering. I think what Solomon is saying is that it’s better to be told openly, frankly, and honestly before your face than to have something hidden from you that you might not be aware of, walking right into something that does a lot of harm. The psalmist went so far as to say that he’d rather have a righteous person slap him in the face if he needs it because it’s really a kindness to him (Psalm 141:5). In the long run, the person who rebukes someone will gain their favor (Prov. 28:23) because even though the truth hurts, hiding the truth hurts even worse. Judas went up to Jesus and gave Him a kiss, but the kiss of an enemy can end up doing a lot more harm than good (Matt. 26:49), like it did to Jesus.
Does an Enemy Speak the Truth?
Paul asks the rhetorical question of whether he became the enemy of the Galatians because he spoke the truth (Gal. 4:16). The obvious answer is no, of course not, because even the Word of God cuts in order to heal, and the blows of a friend are in our best interest. I don’t mean actual physical blows, of course, but words that hurt can heal in the end. If we see a brother or sister living in serious, grievous sin, it is our Christian duty to try and restore them (Gal. 6:1). The truth can hurt, but silence is not golden; it can prove fatal in some cases. How will you or I react if God sends someone to help us see our wrong? Is that okay with us? Can we see that they only want to help us?
A Closing Prayer
Father, You chastise every son and daughter You love (Heb. 12:6; Rev. 3:19); so, help me to receive it as being done in love, whether it’s directly from Your Word, the Bible, or from someone You send. In the Savior’s precious name I pray.
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