“Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.”
Explanation and Commentary of Proverbs 27:6
If someone is a true friend, then the wounds they inflict can often be healthy and helpful rebukes when one is going astray. Even when that is not the case, if there should be some lapse, and the friend is the perpetrator of some insult by carelessness of the tongue, the friend can be reproached honestly, and the relationship can be repaired because both parties are committed to the friendship.
An enemy, however, may not ever be direct with his or her hatred, and will even use flattery and “kisses” to cover his or her animosity. One cannot read this without remembering Judas, who betrayed Jesus with a kiss. True friends do not need to constantly flatter or heap affection. One should always be wary when dealing with one such as this.
If the friendship is the best kind, a Christ-centered friendship, then one of the truest purposes of the relationship is “speaking the truth in love, [so that] we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ” (Eph 4:15). God has ordained that the members of his body, the Church, can be a source of truth for one another. While it is possible to hide sin from one’s own self, it is more difficult to hide it from a godly and honest friend who only wants our good.
Breaking Down the Key Parts of Proverbs 27:6
#1 “Wounds from a friend…”
There are many ways a friend can hurt us simply because they are a friend. Sometimes it is out of carelessness and the brokenness of our friends that they hurt us, or we hurt them. But, in the best friendships, friends are willing to be honest with one another in order to keep all things in the light.
#2 “…can be trusted,”
Either because true friends can overcome conflict with godly and honest relating, or because the wounds themselves can come from even the gentlest truth that needs to be stated, one should not fear conflict with godly friends.
#3 “but an enemy…”
An enemy is one who is not for you. He or she has set itself against you. Don’t let yourself be the one who hates. But even if you guard yourself against hatred, you sometimes can do nothing about the fact that someone else has set themselves against you. In fact, Jesus promised that if we identify with him, some will hate us (Mt 10:22). It probably goes that you should wonder if you are following Christ if you do not have enemies.
#4 “…multiplies kisses.”
Beware the person who is overly nice; they may be seething on the inside and will one day unleash a pent-up hatred. Beware the flatterer who “multiplies kisses;” they may be maneuvering for a manipulation.
Expert Overview of Proverbs
Biblical Translations of Proverbs 27:6
Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.
Wounds from a sincere friend are better than many kisses from an enemy.
Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy.
Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.
Faithful are the wounds of a friend, But the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.
Natalie Regoli is a child of God, devoted wife, and mother of two boys. She has a Master's Degree in Law from The University of Texas. Natalie has been published in several national journals and has been practicing law for 18 years.