5 ¶ Open rebuke is better than secret love. 6 Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.
Peter was rebuked openly by Paul for his inconsistent testimony.
Galatians 2:11 ¶ But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed. 12 For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision. 13 And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulation. 14 But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before them all, If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews?
It was better for Peter for Paul to rebuke him publicly as a Christian brother than for Christ to have Peter’s secret devotion at his trials when Peter denied him.
John 18:25 And Simon Peter stood and warmed himself. They said therefore unto him, Art not thou also one of his disciples? He denied it, and said, I am not.
I would also rather have a friend openly tell me that I am wrong and steer me away from the disaster that is often the consequence of sin than to keep silent out of some presumed type of loyalty and let me walk off a cliff. What good is your friendship if you don’t have my best interest at heart and you don’t care enough to warn me about what is not in my best interest?
It is better to have open rebuke from a friend than to have a quiet acquiescence to my foolishness. A real friend will be faithful and true to you even if what they say hurts for a moment but the person who truly is your enemy but pretends to be your friend, even his affection is deceitful. We are told in the Christian church to let love between us be sincere and without the pretense that dissembling and dissimulation affords.
Romans 12:9 Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.
If you truly love somebody, as we are called to love our brothers and sisters in Christ, then you will not withhold the truth from them, even if stating it to their face is hurtful for a time. Your open correction of them is more valuable than your secret affection. A true friend’s affection is genuine and “faithful” but a false friend’s affection is a deceit and a lie.
How many of you have been betrayed by the silence of a “friend” or realized that this friend’s love was not real, after all? They could have been a spouse, a dear friend, or a work colleague but in the end you would have been better served by someone who you thought of as an enemy than a false friend like this. Men often resent the correction or concern of their wives because they want to be “large and in charge”, as in one of the urban definitions of being on top of their game and knowing the score. They can’t stand to be warned that something is wrong. A mature man would do well to listen to his wife’s concerns unless, of course, he doesn’t view her as his best friend which is an entire other problem we won’t go into here.
Remember, Joab’s kiss (2 Samuel 20:9,10) and Judas’ kiss (Luke 22:48) were deadly. Be true to your friends and church brothers and sisters. Their lives, maybe even the destiny of their souls, may depend on it.