Who would not appreciate kisses over wounds! But the real issue is not the act, itself, but the perpetrator who does it.
When we talk about this proverb in class at Helping Up Mission, I ask who has been stabbed, and generally about 30% of the group responds in the affirmative. Then I ask who has had surgery and about the same number raise their hands. Then I ask, “What’s the difference between the two – they both cut you?” Someone will inevitably answer, “One cuts you to hurt you and the other cuts you to help you!”
While “kisses” would generally be preferable, when they come from an “enemy” they probably are not good and should not be trusted. In the Bible, an “enemy” is not someone I don’t like but someone who doesn’t like me. So if that rascal kisses me, it should be received with a good bit of caution. Remember Judas?
On the other hand, “wounds” from a true “friend” can be “trusted” to be for my own good. In reality, these wounds probably come with what my father used to say when he was going to give me a spanking, “Son, this is going to hurt me more than it hurts you!”
Real friends will say the hard things that are painful but helpful (see also :5). We don’t have to like them, but we need to receive them for our own betterment!