Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful. – Proverbs 27:6
When our sins are pointed out (rightly) by brethren or unbelievers alike, it seems we are quicker to take offense than to execute repentance. I know that I am wont to do this, and I believe it’s human nature. However, we should take heed of the knowledge of the Proverb above in realizing that rebukes are for our good, but ignoring and continuing in our sins is harmful. Here are some words from the venerable William Gurnall and Matthew Henry that are poignant.
Bless God for the efficacy of the word upon thy soul. Did ever its point prick thy heart,–its edge fetch blood of thy lusts? Bless God for it; you would do as much to a surgeon for lancing a sore, and severing a putrified part from thy body, though he put thee to exquisite torture in the doing of it. And I hope thou thinkest God hath done thee a greater kindness. Solomon tells us, –‘Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful,’ Prov. xxvii. 6. The wounds that God thus gives are the faithful wounds of a friend; and the kisses which sin gives come from an enemy. God’s wounds cure, –sin’s kisses kill.’ – The Christian in Complete Armour, Ch. 20
Matthew Henry (commenting on Lot and the homosexual men who sought to rape Lot’s visitors in Gen. 19):
Note, [1.] Those that hate to be reformed hate those that reprove them, though with ever so much tenderness. Presumptuous sinners do by their consciences as the Sodomites did by Lot, baffle their checks, stifle their accusations, press hard upon them, till they have seared them and quite stopped their mouths, and so made themselves ripe for ruin. [2.] Abuses offered to God’s messengers and to faithful reprovers soon fill the measure of a people’s wickedness, and bring destruction without remedy. See Prov. xxix. 1, and 2 Chron. xxxvi. 16. If reproofs remedy not, there is no remedy. See 2 Chron. xxv. 16.
Let us therefore, Brethren, not be so quick to take offense when others point out our sins, but let us indeed be quick to repent from our sins, even if the motivation of our accusers is malicious, the motivation of God’s means are gracious for His children. Let us be sensitive to rebukes in that we not sear our consciences of our slights against God’s Law.