Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.
True love wounds! Kisses often lie! Here is a great proverb of true friendship and love. No matter what you think, true friends wound each other - they correct, rebuke, and warn each other for their mutual perfection. These faithful gestures of love are precious. On the other hand, false friends may easily show much outward affection or attention, which are a lying cover for their selfish hearts (Pr 27:5). Lord, give us wounding friends!
Solomon rejected the world's idea of love. If we believe their love songs, they think love is pleasure taken from another person. Consider, "If you can't be with the one you love, then love the one you're with," and, "Will you still love me tomorrow?" The words, "I love you," are to many just a lie to get something from another. Of course, if both persons are lying and taking from each other at the same time, they call that "great chemistry."
Love and lust are not the same! The whore of Solomon's parable said, "Come, let us take our fill of love until the morning: let us solace ourselves with loves" (Pr 7:18). But all she was talking about was fornication - gratifying sexual lust at the expense of another person. And Amnon thought he loved his half-sister Tamar, but it was merely fascination with her body, which caused him great hatred after he had violated her (II Sam 13:1-19).
Who cares if you send cards, kiss, or say the three words? They are not proof of anything of value! They might very well be cover for your selfish ambition to take advantage of another person! Who cares if you shake hands, smile a lot, and give many compliments? Flattering others to obtain their response for mutual self-love is disgusting! These are not evidences of friendship or love. Only wounds show true friendship and love!
Flattering words and a kiss are what Judas used (Matt 26:49)! And they are what Joab used to kill Amasa (II Sam 20:9-10). And they are what Absalom used to seduce the men of Israel into sedition against David (II Sam 15:5). Hatred is often hid behind lying words and acts of affection (Pr 26:24-26). David feared such words and handshakes, so he begged God to deliver him from strange children for the prosperity of the church (Ps 144:1-15).
True friendship and love give! And they give for the benefit of others! Love is selfless! Lust is selfish! True love is finding the blessing in giving to another. Since pleasing God and having a good account on the Day of Judgment are life's greatest goals, the highest measure of love is helping another meet those goals. Brother Paul was a great example of such love (II Cor 5:11; 11:1-2; 12:14-15; Gal 4:16; Col 1:28-29; I Thess 2:7-12). Do you love anyone by that high measure? Do you have any friends who love you that way?
If you truly love another person, all your actions toward them will be governed by the goals of helping them please God and prepare for the Day of Judgment. Therefore, you will correct, rebuke, and warn as necessary. You will not coddle, compromise, or overlook actions that hurt their relationship with God or lead to sin in their life. Godly love will not cover sins: it will correct sins. It will not condone evil; it will condemn evil.
This truth about friendship and love is too high for most. They believe the devil's lie that friendship and love are seeking pleasure and keeping things comfortable, happy, and peaceful in relationships, regardless of another's conduct. But if you truly care for a person, you will want to help perfect them (Luke 17:3; Gal 6:1-2; I Thess 5:14; Heb 3:12-13; 10:24-25; Jas 5:19-20). If you do not rebuke their sin, you hate them (Lev 19:17)!
This kind of love creates the greatest friendships and relationships (Pr 28:23)! Solomon wrote, "Rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee" (Pr 9:8). David, one of the most affectionate men, wrote, "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" (Ps 141:5). Peter called Paul beloved, though Paul had rebuked him publicly (Gal 2:11-14; II Pet 3:15).
David and Jonathan were the greatest of friends. They loved each other as their own souls (I Sam 18:1,3; 20:17; II Sam 1:26). What was their relationship? They helped each other be the best before God. When David was hiding from Saul, "Jonathan Saul's son arose, and went to David into the wood, and strengthened his hand in God" (I Sam 23:16).
What kind of friend do you want? What kind of friend are you? Do you want one who pampers your fancies and flatters your vanity? One who enjoys your presence, cheers you with kindness, and serves you? Such a friend will not help. You are a sinner; you need a real friend, who will watch for your soul and correct you when necessary. The other kind is quite worthless, very deceitful, and will leave you wanting in the time of real need.
Godly men are anxious to have their faults pointed out, and they are very grateful when another will perform the selfless act (Ps 141:5). A faithful reprover should be valued as a truly great treasure. David, anointed to be king of Israel, was thankful for the sincere friendship of Abigail, proven by her respectful rebuke of him (I Sam 25:32-34). More husbands and wives ought to pursue this higher degree of affection and companionship.
Where can you find godly friends described and implied by this proverb? In a true church of Jesus Christ, where the duties and privileges of friendship and love are exemplified, taught, promoted, and required. You need the body of Christ, made up of unique members chosen by God, for maximizing your spiritual prosperity (I Cor 12:12-27)!
Who loves you the most? The one having the most mutual pleasure with you, or the one doing the most for you? If you learned from this proverb, you know it is the one doing the most for you. If you are one of God's elect, Jesus Christ gave His life for you and lives today for you (Rom 5:6-11). And He wisely chastens your every fault for your perfection in holiness (Heb 12:4-17). He is the greatest Friend you will ever have!