"Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful."
“Faithful are the wounds of a friend;”
If we were to take a poll and ask people if they would like to have a “true friend,” I imagine most would say “yes.” But then if we followed up with “Do you want your friend to tell you the truth about yourself, and tell you when you are doing wrong?” I wonder how many would answer in the affirmative. It comes down to this, are you willing to receive criticism? Solomon said,
“Reprove not a scorner, lest he hate thee: rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee” (Proverbs 9:8).
“It is better to hear the rebuke of the wise, than for a man to hear the song of fools” (Ecclesiastes 7:5).
No one in their right mind likes to be wounded, but coming from a faithful friend, wounds can be helpful for us.
“The sharpest reproofs; of a friend — They proceed from an upright, loving, and faithful heart, and really promote the good of the person reproved…”1 (Benson).
If your doctor tells you, “You must have surgery, or you will die,” he is not saying this to harm you but to help you. And when a friend tells you of a wrong that needs to be corrected in your life, he’s trying to help you grow. As painful as these kinds of wounds are, if the criticism is received, they will help you be what the Lord wants you to be.
“But the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.”
On the other hand, never trust the kindness, the “kisses” of an enemy. Why? An enemy wants to do you harm. If, suddenly, your enemy is being kind to you watch out! He’s not trying to help you, but he’s deceiving you.
“All the fair speeches and outward professions of friendship; of an enemy are deceitful”2 (Benson).
“The wicked worketh a deceitful work: but to him that soweth righteousness shall be a sure reward” (Proverbs 11:18).
The best Bible example of this principle is Judas.
“And forthwith he [Judas] came to Jesus, and said, Hail, master; and kissed him” (Matthew 26:49).
He came to Jesus as a friend would, but his deception fooled no one. He cloaked his betrayal with a friendly kiss.
Your godly friend will wound you to help you, your enemy will kiss you to destroy you. Be wise!
1. Joseph Benson, Joseph Benson’s Commentary on the Old and New Testaments, the electronic version in eSword.
2. Benson, ibid.