Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.
Read Chapter 27
Ambrose of Milan
The wounds of love are good too, better than kisses. For “useful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy.” Peter wounds, and Judas kisses. But the kiss condemned Judas because it carried a traitorous venom; the wound inflicted by Peter also cured him because he washed away his fault with tears.
Rebukes are good, and often better than a silent friendship. Even if a friend thinks himself hurt, still rebuke him; and if the bitterness of the correction wounds his mind, still rebuke him and fear not. “The wounds of a friend are better than the kisses of flatterers.” Rebuke, then, your erring friend; forsake not an innocent one. For friendship ought to be steadfast and to rest firm in true affection. .
“More trustworthy are the wounds of a friend than the proffered kisses of an enemy.” Let us, then, with all the insistence we can put into it, impress this upon our dearest friends, those who are most sincerely interested in our work, and let them know that it is possible between dear friends for something to be objected to in the speech of either, without charity being thereby diminished, without truth begetting hatred. This is something which is owed to friendship, even if what is objected to is true, or whatever it is, so long as it is uttered from a truthful heart, without keeping in the mind what is at variance with the words.
Not everyone who spares is a friend, nor is everyone who strikes an enemy. “Better are the wounds of a friend than the proffered kisses of an enemy.” Love mingled with severity is better than deceit with indulgence.
When one who is loved is chastised, a pious act is exercised in his regard, for love has its wounds as well, which are all the sweeter for the harshness of their infliction. For a religious chastisement is sweeter than easy forgiveness, which is why the prophet says, “Sweeter are the wounds of a friend than the freely offered kisses of an enemy.”