The Wounds of a Friend

 The Wounds of a Friend

Robert Wurtz II


Faithful are the wounds of a friend [who corrects out of love and concern], But the kisses of an enemy are deceitful [because they serve his hidden agenda].  (Proverbs 27:6 AMP)


A wise man fears and departs from evil, But a fool rages and is self-confident.  (Proverbs 14:6 NKJV)


We learn from reading Ecclesiastes that Solomon wrote from a heart of great wisdom in light of his life experiences. He reflected on events past and present to learn wisdom. Proverbs contains many sayings that Solomon composed to help open our eyes to similar situations that we encounter. With this in mind, I wish to examine Proverbs 27:6 and 14:6.  


I rarely quote from the Amplified Bible and can count on one hand times I’ve done it, but I think it’s helpful in Proverbs 27:6. The verse informs us that the wounds of a friend are faithful. The Hebrew word for faithful is a verb meaning to be firm, build up, support, nurture, or establish. The LXX (Greek Old Testament) uses a word that means “more worthy of trust.” The wounds of a friend are more worthy of trust than the kisses of an enemy. 


Pain or Harm? 


The LXX translated the Hebrew word for wounds as the Greek word trauma, from which we get our English word. We don’t associate the word trauma with trust or nurturing, but it suggests pain or emotional distress within this context. Pain comes through disciplining, which we don’t like or associate with love in modern times. Most people avoid confrontation, but sometimes love must confront, or it’s not love.



I must make a distinction between correction and abuse and also between pain and harm. To abuse a person is to harm them. When Nathan confronted King David, it wasn’t abuse; it was the wounds of a friend. The goal was repentance. Moreover, a physical confrontation is not the wounds that Proverbs is referring to, but corrective words that confront sinful behavior. The distinction between love and hate in this regard has changed a lot since Bible times. The primary objective in modern times is to relieve pain, not cause it. 


Misplaced Trust


The problem with human nature is that we associate kisses with nurturing, not wounds, trauma, or pain. Again, understand that inflicting pain and causing harm are different things. God doesn’t mind inflicting pain in our lives when we need correction, but He does so for our benefit and not to harm us (Hebrews 12:10-11). If we don’t make this distinction, we end up believing many foolish notions that discourage meaningful discipline. 


On the contrary, when we associate “kisses” with love and loyalty, we are ripe for deception. Joab is a literal example and may have been in the mind of Solomon, David’s greater son, when he wrote Proverbs 27:6. We read in 2 Samual 27:10,Amasa was not on his guard against the dagger in Joab’s hand, and Joab plunged it into his belly, and his intestines spilled out on the ground. Without being stabbed again, Amasa died.” Joab killed Amasa Judas style with a kiss. Joab had a bad habit of disobeying orders and destroying people he perceived to be his enemy.


One lesson we gain from Amasa’s brutal murder is that kisses (literal or figurative) can bring down our guard so we don’t see the proverbial dagger waiting to destroy us. Joab set himself up as judge, jury, and executioner more than once. He could look a person in the eye, pretend to befriend them, and stab them at the same time. Joab killed David’s son Absalom against David’s orders and murdered Amasa, his nephew. Some call this behavior the spirit of Joab. Is there any wonder David told Solomon to execute him? He was dangerous and couldn’t be trusted. 


Pushing Away Friends


Joab was motivated by fear and revenge. He was afraid of people he perceived to be a threat, such as Amasa, so he kissed and killed him. He hated Abner because he killed his brother, even though Abner practically begged the man to avoid a confrontation. When Joab pursued Abner relentlessly, Abner called to Joab, “Shall the sword devour forever? Do you not know that the end will be bitter? How long will it be before you tell your people to turn from the pursuit of their brothers?”(2 Samuel 2:26) In the end it was bitter for everyone and Joab was executed. 


There are plenty of “Joabs” in the world. If we aren’t careful, we might push away our faithful friends and surround ourselves with our enemies simply because we prefer kisses to wounds (so to speak). In the language of the Amplified Bible,  “…the kisses of an enemy are deceitful [because they serve his hidden agenda].” In other words, find someone who has nothing to gain or lose by bringing correction to your sinful behavior or destructive decisions. 


The Pain of Love


We could say that the rebuke or reproof of a friend is painful now (traumatic as it were), but afterward, it yields the fruit of love, whereas withholding rebuke and reproof when a person has sinned or errored later reveals a hatred for them in the heart (Leviticus 19:17). It’s not love to overlook bad behavior continually. It’s the opposite because you normalize sin rather than reprove it.


Silence in the presence of gross sin is not love; it is hate. That’s God’s perspective. Satan says the opposite, and so does his present evil world. We’re not talking about browbeating or wearing a person down all the time with negativity. Friends have your best interest in mind and are looking out for you. Friends want you to succeed, even if that means they must decrease while you increase (so to speak). They encourage you to do the right things. Friends lift you up while holding back the forces trying to destroy you. This is love. 


Misplaced Confidence


When it comes to friends and associations, we mustn’t trust ourselves too much rather than leaning on God’s word and the Holy Spirit for real discernment. Proverbs 14:6 says A wise man fears and departs from evil, But a fool rages and is self-confident. Wisdom makes us cautious enough to know that we could be deceived by “friendly” people. We foolishly compound deception when reckless confidence in our own wisdom or spiritual prowess deceives us into believing that we can easily discern friends from enemies. Sometimes, we cannot.  


Matthew Henry once said, “The Lord deliver us from an enemy’s kisses, from lying lips, and from a deceitful tongue.” It is dangerous to take pleasure in flattery and thereby be deceived by a “kissing” enemy until they gain our confidence. When we prefer flattery to the truth, Satan makes those who genuinely love you look like enemies and those who seek to destroy you look like close friends. He makes needed rebukes given out of love and concern feel like betrayal, and pretentious accolades (kisses) feel like love and loyalty. 


Faithful are the wounds of a friend [who corrects out of love and concern], But the kisses of an enemy are deceitful [because they serve his hidden agenda].  (Proverbs 27:6 AMP)

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